Boost your brain health

Depending on your experience and perspective, brain health can mean different things to different people. Stroke prevention. Dementia prevention. Alzheimer's prevention. Injury prevention.

Whatever brain health means to you, it's important to know that just like your heart, you brain can benefit from relatively simple lifestyle changes that will keep it functioning optimally both day to day and in the longer-term as well. Walking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthfully and getting enough sleep all can contribute to good brain health. Study after study shows that staying intellectually engaged — reading, taking a class, going back to school and enjoying a variety of board and electronic games as well as crossword and jigsaw puzzles — has lasting benefits to your brain health.

It's also important to realize that your brain isn't functioning in isolation — it's intimately connected to the rest of your body, and with something like stroke — which takes place in the brain — tending to your whole body's health is the key to keeping stroke at bay. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthfully and exercising, you can help prevent stroke by quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol consumption and getting your blood pressure and cholesterol in healthy ranges.

Finally, protecting your noggin — and the brain contained within it — is as simple as putting on a helmet when you're engaged in all manner of athletic activities, from riding a bicycle to skiing and snowboarding.

We know there are no guarantees — you may do all the right things and still find yourself at the mercy of circumstance. But we encourage you to practice prevention and to give your body — and your brain — a fighting chance against loss of memory and function.

Use your head; protect your brain health.