We don’t care how much you’re benching right now, how cut you look in that new bespoke suit, or how often you’re bedding sexy new flings. Here are three bitter pills: you’re going to get old, it’s going to be rough, and exactly how rough depends a lot on what you do right now. Fortunately, it’s all pretty self-explanatory.
A study by Age UK has found you just need to do four out of these five things, and you’ll reduce your chance of age-related dementia significantly. Oh, and they’re all pretty healthy habits too, so you’ll also improve the life you’re living right now.
1. Exercise Regularly
“The link between physical activity and cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity is well established, and these diseases in turn have been shown to be high risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia.”
2. Don’t Smoke
“There are significantly more new cases of Alzheimer’s per year among current smokers compared to people who have never smoked.”
3. Drink Moderately
“Alcohol has both damaging and protective effects on the brain, depending on how much people drink. Very heavy drinking, to the point of alcoholism, is a known cause of dementia as it results in the loss of brain tissue, particularly in areas of the brain related to memory.”
4. Prevent or treat diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity
“These are well established risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. All of the cardiovascular risk factors may increase the risk of dementia by increasing the risk of hardening of the arteries.”
5. Eat a Mediterranean diet
“The most validated scientific dietary advice for good cognitive health and reducing the risk of dementia is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, cereals and fish — and low in meat, poultry and dairy products. A diet high in sugar, cholesterol, and trans-fats has been found to lead to poorer cognitive health for older people.”
As you can see, these are all pretty healthy habits you should be into anyway. And, if you do just four out of the five, even better. The study, carried out over thirty years, found that men between forty-five and fifty-nine who followed four out of these five things lowered their risk of cognitive decline and of dementia by 36%.
Like we said, getting older sucks. But it doesn’t have so suck quite so much, so put on your exercise shoes, put out, limit your whisky intake to cocktail hour, take control of your health, and eat a good diet. Oh, and you get to cheat on one of those things. All in all, not too shabby.