Learn to play an instrument
Learning and playing an instrument forces you to sharpen many different cognitive processes, including attention, memory, motor skills, auditory skills, and visual skills. It’s no wonder studies have found that playing a musical instrument delays the onset of cognitive decline. When researchers from Emory University tested the cognitive health of 70 older adults, they found that study participants with at least ten years of musical experience performed better on tests of nonverbal memory, naming, and many other cognitive processes than older adults with less training or no training at all.
In addition to helping keep your brain sharp, music lessons may also allow you to maintain fine motor skills, especially if you learn an instrument that requires complex finger motions. When researchers offered piano lessons to older adults, the study participants were able to improve cognitive abilities—including attention, concentration, and planning—over just six months, compared with study participants who didn’t take lessons.
Trade in farmed salmon for wild
In a study of 815 people, people who consumed salmon and other fish at least once a week reduced their Alzheimer’s disease risk by 60 percent compared with people who rarely or never ate fish, But farmed salmon has tested eight times higher for PCBs—an industrial pollutant, carcinogen, and neurotoxin—than wild salmon. Feast on these other 25 foods that boost brain health.
Breathe lavender while you sleep
Research shows that the scent of lavender serves as a mild sedative that can slow heart rate, drop blood pressure, and relax the body. In one study, people who sniffed lavender before bed slept more deeply and felt more refreshed in the morning. Sprinkle a few drops of pure lavender essential oil on a tissue to tuck under your pillow. Find more simple tips by grabbing a copy of Outsmarting Alzheimer’s: What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk by Kenneth S. Kosik, MD, and Alisa Bowman and reading these other 15 things neurologists do to prevent Alzheimer’s.