As we age, changes to our bodies and brains are normal. But there are ways to slow memory loss and lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Here are 5 tips to keep your brain healthy.

  1. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. The physical benefits to exercise are obvious. What is less known is that those who exercise regularly are less likely to experience mental decline and have lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Engage in moderate aerobic activity that raises your heart rate for 30 to 60 minutes, multiple times per week. Tennis, swimming, walking and yoga are all ways to take care of your body and mind.

  2. Get your Zzzzzs. Sleep is the most important way to restore your brain, allow it to heal and improve mental health. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to allow your brain to consolidate and store memories effectively.

  3. Follow a Mediterranean diet. Following a diet low in salt and red meat that emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

  4. Use it or lose it. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs exercise. Activities that challenge your brain, such as reading, doing crossword puzzles or Sudoku and playing board games are fantastic brain workouts.

  5. Be social. Maintaining regular contact with friends and family can ward off depression and stress and help prevent memory loss.

  6. For more information on how to keep your brain healthy, visit mayoclinichealthsystem.org.