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Every year, 21 September is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. A part of the international campaign conducted every September, the day and month aims to raise awareness, and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2022 will mark the 11th World Alzheimer's Month. The campaign was launched in 2012.
Just like physical exercises, brain exercises are also necessary to keep one mentally fit and healthy. Research has proven that brain-stimulating exercises have helped in preventing and managing Alzheimer's. If the mind is active, it helps to reduce the damage to the brain cells, which is very common in the case of Alzheimer's and it also helps in the growth of new nerve cells.
There are certain common brain exercises that help in preventing beta-amyloid deposits from developing, keeping the mind working for long, thereby delaying the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Mental stimulating activities like reading, writing and playing a few games help improve brain health.
There are a few brain exercises that improve cognitive abilities and help in managing Alzheimer's and dementia. A few of them are listed below.
1. Puzzles: Crossword puzzles and sudoku are a few games which require a certain level of thinking and thus keep your brain busy.
2. Scrabble and chess: These are other games which require thinking and workout for your brain.
3. Video games and even online games: When played with limitation, few video games and online games definitely provides exercises for the brain as a certain amount of thinking is involved in these games.
4. Reading and writing: Develop a habit of reading the newspaper every day, reading a book of your interest and even writing something that involves brain functions like vision, language and cognitive coordination. All these help in keeping the brain active.
5. Engaging in Arts & Crafts: Engaging oneself in certain arts and crafts like painting, knitting, drawing, carving, paper crafts or any other activity help in keeping the brain active.
6. Music and dance: Music and dance help to activate the brain and also prevent cognitive decline. Listening to music are humming some tune that you like helps in engage the mind and the senses. Likewise dancing, if you are interested, involves hand, eye and brain coordination, which is a good exercise for your brain.
7. Exercises: Light exercises involving brisk walking, stretching, yoga or even gardening every day improves breathing, support the cells decline and keep the blood vessels active and healthy.
These are a few exercises to keep the mind healthy and thus reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and other brain degenerative diseases.
Inputs from Dr Joshy E.V., Senior Neurologist, Brains Hospitals, Bangalore.
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