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Q: What are the best ways to keep my brain functioning?

Posted February 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: These strategies will help you keep your brain balanced and healthy:
• Get enough sleep. The brain needs downtime. If you don’t get enough rest, you just don’t function as well, mentally or physically.
• Light up your life. Natural or full-spectrum light helps your brain function at its best, lifts fatigue and, for many people, eases depression. If you work under fluorescent lighting, take a walk outdoors during breaks or lunchtime.
• Get moving. Regular exercise increases the flow of blood in the brain and contributes to other chemical changes that keep you more alert. Just 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week is enough.
• Don’t smoke. Don’t drink alcohol ,or don’t drink more than a moderate amount.
• Get treatment for depression, if you have it.
• Read or play board games or do other activities that require your brain to work and learn. Stroke your spirit
Stress can also affect your ability to think clearly. Strategies to manage stress include:
• Tune in to music. Research shows that music calms the brain, inspires creativity, and helps you focus your thoughts.
• Get a pet. Taking care of a pet helps you feel responsible, wanted and needed. Laugh a lot. Deep, hearty laughter boosts the immune system and produces endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
• Slow down. It’s important to have passion for whatever you do, but a balanced life allows the brain to maintain a healthy function.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

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