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Preserving Memory Through Lifestyle and Mindfulness

by Dr. Leah Hahn, D.C., F.I.C.P.A.

The number of Americans dealing with Alzheimer's continues to sky-rocket, causing increasing concerns.  So much of what we are learning regarding Alzheimer's is that a variety of factors can help with prevention, or slowing down the speed in which Alzheimer's develops.  Most Americans do not realize that the choices they make on a daily basis impact risk or prevention of Alzheimer's, depending on the choice.  One of the concepts is as simple as limiting blood sugar spikes through meal planning and food choices.  In the literature, Alzheimer's is being referred to as "Type 3 Diabetes."  In Type 2 Diabetes, the body's ability to usher glucose into the cells of the body for energy is altered.  In Alzheimer's, the brain cells are actually struggling to receive the glucose they need, impairing brain function.  Decreasing inflammatory foods that damage the cells' ability to use glucose as well as produce stress hormones and belly fat is an important step.  Balancing meals appropriately with protein and fat to minimize blood sugar spikes is another effective strategy.  The food choice-based concepts are critical concepts in the prevention of Alzheimer's.  

Another area of Alzheimer's prevention that can significantly slow the development of Alzheimer's is exercise.  We have always taught the importance of regular exercise, building lean muscle mass, and changing exercise routines so levels of fitness can be improved over time.  According to the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's by 50%.  Exercise can dramatically slow further deterioration of cognitive decline in those already showing symptoms.  Trainers at Body In Balance hold patients accountable to exercise and design workouts with enough challenge that patients continue to see results, all while keeping in mind important modifications given the patient's individual health history.  If you know you need support in starting a new exercise routine, or need the accountability of working with a trainer, Body In Balance is a great and truly affordable place to start. Talk to the doctors, the front desk or call Body In Balance to learn how to get started.  Eating well combined with exercise truly can shift sleep patterns and improve quality of sleep, another important factor in the prevention of Alzheimer's and brain health in general.

NSA And Mindfulness

In late August of 2019, I presented a class at Body In Balance called "Practical, Life-Changing Mindfulness Skills and Tools."  I taught skills for being present in the moment, skills for decreasing the fight or flight stress response, as well as tips on how to meditate and create mindfulness in daily life.  Mindfulness tools can help relieve chronic stress which negatively impacts the brain and increases the likelihood of developing diseases like Alzheimer's.  According to the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a 2019 study showed that adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment that learned mindfulness meditation could improve their cognitive reserve.  The concept of mindfulness and meditation is fairly simple, but researcher, Rebecca Erwin Wells stated that the process of meditation requires complex cognitive process, discipline, and commitment.  Science also shows us that meditation practices lead to increased sense of well-being and happiness.

We love teaching the concepts of nutrition, exercise, and enhancing well-being.  We also love teaching mindfulness.  When the August class, "Practical, Life-Changing Mindfulness Skills and Tools" was announced, it was wait-listed in a few days.  Clearly, these are concepts that our community is interested in and can benefit from in so many ways--from decreasing risk of Alzheimer's, decreasing the rate of cognitive decline, as well as increasing sense of well-being.  I will teach this complimentary class again on Wednesday, October 9th, at 6:00pm.  Please reserve your space at the class, please call Body In Balance at 303-215-0390.  Visit their website at bodyinbalancechiropractic.com to learn more about their health and wellness practitioners or to find the link to their Facebook page, where you will find videos on mindfulness tips and practices.  Preserving memory is important to me and I hope you find these ideas practical as well as life-improving.  

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