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5 Factors Affecting Brain Health

August 1, 2021

Things to do for a healthier brain

The brain is one of the most complex organs in the human body and researchers are constantly learning more about how to keep it strong and healthy as we age. In communities like Pisgah Valley, we understand that and that’s why we place great importance on offering intellectually and physically stimulating activities on a regular basis to all of our residents. Staying mentally and physically engaged will positively impact the longevity of the brain but there are other factors we should consider when discussing things we can do for a healthier brain. Read on to find what those factors are.

Risk Factors

  1. Hydration

    Staying hydrated is important for multiple processes in the body, but especially for the health of the brain. Each person is different but the recommendation for an adult is to consume at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Of course if you sweat a lot you would need to replenish that depletion of water along with the daily recommended amount. For a lot of seniors staying hydrated can be challenging. The sensation of thirst declines with age so a lot of seniors do not realize they are dehydrated until it’s too late. As we age we also carry less water in the body than someone younger so the need to stay hydrated is even more important for the entire body’s processes including the brain.
  2. Blood Pressure

    Here’s an easy rule: any recommendations that promote heart health apply to brain health. “Heart and brain health are woven together not only by lifestyle factors but by genetics, cholesterol metabolism, and the health and integrity of the cardiovascular system — from major vessels to the tiniest capillaries” — says Marwan Sabbagh, M.D. Diet, stress management and exercise all help to control blood pressure. According to the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) hypertension guidelines, normal blood pressure range should be 120/80mmHg. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, contact your primary care doctor to find out what the problem could be and treatment to correct as soon as possible.
  3. Mental Activity

    Treating the brain like a muscle and working it is one way to stay sharp. Think of participating in activities such as reading, writing, painting, problem solving games and puzzles. The catch is, you must challenge yourself with mental activities. Reading a children’s book that is only 10 pages long will not stimulate the adult brain enough to keep it sharp. Be sure to actively challenge yourself with mental activities but don’t push yourself to solve the most difficult puzzle ever. You want to have a balance- challenging but no so hard that you feel like giving up.
  4. Physical Activity

    The only way to activate all functions of the brain is through body movement. Exercise is extremely important for the health of our brains. Regularly participate in physical activities that not only get you moving but increase your heart rate for a sustained amount of time. The national recommendation issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services is 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week for an older adult. Pisgah Valley Retirement Community offers a wide variety of fitness classes each week that are accessible by all physical levels. One of the most interesting classes is Ageless Grace and it is one of the best activities you can perform for brain health. This seated class is a brain-body program based on stimulation of neuroplasticity to support cognitive health and activate all five primary functions of the brain. The program uses physical “games” called “tools” that also work the core, and activate the organs and systems of the body. Ageless Grace is offered each Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30pm in the Villa activity room with the Wellness Director, Abby Landry, and certified Ageless Grace educator.
  5. Diet

    The final piece to the puzzle is focusing on how diet can affect the health of the brain. Aim for a whole foods diet that is limited in added sugars, salts, trans or saturated fats and animal products. Consider a Mediterranean style diet that is rich in plant based foods, fish and low on fats, sugars and salts.

Pisgah Valley

6 Rhododendron Way
Candler, NC 28715

828-418-2333

Pisgah Villa

102 Holcombe Cove Road
Candler, NC 28715

828-418-2340

Pisgah Manor

104 Holcombe Cove Road
Candler, NC 28715

828-667-9851