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Minimizing Your Chance of Dementia

Exercising Regularly
Regular exercise stimulates the production of chemicals called growth factors that help neurons survive and adapt to new situations. These gains may help to delay the onset of dementia symptoms. Exercise also may reduce the risk of brain damage from atherosclerosis.
 
Many people think this means having to do a lot of strenuous exercise every day. This is a myth. A moderate exercise program will help keep your heart and blood vessels in shape and promotes a lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association even classifies walking at a brisk pace for 30 to 60 minutes, three days a week, as "regular physical activity."
 
Also, you don't have to fit all your physical activity into one exercise session. You can break it up into 10-minute sessions or whatever works best for you. Your healthcare provider can help you come up with a good exercise plan to help in dementia prevention.
 
Drinking Alcohol in Moderation
Studies also have found that drinking large amounts of alcohol appears to increase the risk of dementia. However, other studies have suggested that people who drink moderately have a lower risk of dementia than either those who drink heavily or those who completely abstain from drinking.
 
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, losing weight can help you in several ways. Carrying extra weight puts additional strain on your heart. Also, as people gain weight, their blood pressure and cholesterol level tend to rise. Losing weight can make high blood pressure and cholesterol drop back down.
 
Your healthcare providers can help you fashion a diet and exercise program that's right for you and your weight loss goals. Doctors usually recommend a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-salt diet, along with an exercise program for those people trying to lose weight.
 
(Click BMI Calculator or BMI Chart to learn what might be a healthy weight for you.)
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