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Your brain is like a muscle, it strengthens with use and weakens when it is not. This has birthed the motto “use it or lose it” meaning that when it comes to the brain, if we do not appropriately and regularly stimulate and challenge it, it’s function will decline. Research suggests that one great way to “use it” is through social and recreational activities. This research also suggests that regular participation in such activities can decrease the risk of developing dementia. In fact, people who had a reduced involvement with recreational activities had a 250% increased risk of developing dementia. So how can participation in recreational and social activities reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s?
Some activities have been found to have neurochemical effects. For example, melatonin was seen to increase in participants of music therapy. This increase of melatonin leads to a better regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.
Remember “use it or lose it”? Regular mental stimulation can encourage growth and maintenance of neurons. This allows for learning and adaptation to continue as you age.
The death of old brain cells can be prevented through regular mental engagement. Cognitive stimulation can increase the viability of these cells and prevent cells degrading, which is a common characteristic of ageing.
Challenging our neurons can protect and preserve our neurons. This can be effective in delaying and even preventing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
It is important as we age that we participate in social and recreational activities to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Home Care Assistance in home carers can assist in encouraging the participation in such events as well as provide transport and support to get to these activities.