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Brain & Physical Fitness

Get moving. Get active.

Physical Exercise

Getting regular exercise may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease as well as other brain disorders. You don't have to be a serious athlete; current research indicates moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, several times a week, has a protective effect.

The goal is to increase your heart rate to 80% of (220 - your age). For example, if you are 70 years old, your target heart rate is 120 beats per minute. If you're 50, it's 136, and if you're 30, it's 152. Regular exercise increases blood flow and reduces stress levels, both of which help to improve memory.

Strengthening

Another type of exercise includes resistive (strengthening) exercises, including weight machines, elastic bands, or free weights. Tai Chi, yoga, and Qi Gong help to improve balance, strength and flexibility.

Brain Fitness

Ongoing education and mental exercise play an equally important role in maintaining brain health and preventing cognitive decline. To keep your brain sharp, learn something new, practice memorization, solve riddles, do crossword puzzles and practice the 5 Ws: keep a "who, what, where, when and why" list of your daily experiences. You might consider some of the brain fitness software that is commercially available; many of these programs automatically adjust the level of challenge based on your performance to keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Ask your physician for a recommendation.

For more information on brain and physical fitness, visit:
Cleveland Clinic's wellness site