Cognitive Risk Reduction Activities

Prior to commencing any health or fitness program to check with your GP or a health professional.

Health and fitness

If there is one activity that has shown the most efficacy on improving our overall health, it is living an active lifestyle with consistent and various forms of fitness.

Although more research is required to fully understand which activities are the most effective for protection of cognitive decline and dementia, there are studies that have show improvement for both MCI and dementia.

A meta-analysis study conducted by the Edson collage of Nursing and Health innovation Arizona state University and the School of Nursing Peking University looked at finding the optimal exercise for intervention on both cognitive decline (MCI) and dementia. It found that resistance exercise provided the highest therapeutic intervention on slowing of cognitive function for those suffering both. It also found that multi-component exercises (i.e. various types of exercise) showed the most therapeutic benefits for prevention of decline of cognitive function.

Cognitive resource

In aforementioned Lancet report it discusses the importance of not only early life education but continued learning at all stages of life. Dementia prevention should be looked at as an all-life stages process much like fitness. It’s never to early or late to start on your journey. Cognitive resource is the ability for one to maintain normal brain function even if its damage. Having increased cognitive reserves can potentially protect processes by using other brain areas and hence allowing you to maintain normal function longer.

How to increase cognitive reserves

Although not all factors in cognitive resources are in our control many are. Research has shown that by increasing activity in complex tasks one can in fact improve our amount of reserve.
Cognitive complex tasks are any task that are mentally taxing such as:
  • Learning new subjects (taking a course)
  • Complex physical activities (learning to dance or doing Tai Chi)
  • Puzzles and crosswords
  • Language (Take up a new language)
This helps with neuropathological development such as neurogenesis.
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