Good for the heart, good for the brain

Eating well, exercising and socialising could reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life, a new report says.

The latest World Alzheimer Report, released this week by Alzheimers Disease International, indicated that a number of simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing dementia.

About 50,000 Kiwis are living with dementia, including about 5000 in Canterbury, and the disease cost the country nearly $1 billion in 2011 alone.

Alzheimers New Zealand executive director Catherine Hall said this new report suggested people might be able to reduce their chances of developing dementia by making a few simple changes, including looking after their heart, being physically active, living a healthy lifestyle, challenging their brain and enjoying social activity.

“We’ve known for some time that keeping fit and active, eating well and refraining from smoking is good for our hearts.

“It now appears that what is good for our hearts is also good for our brains, so now is the time to start making these lifestyle changes.”

Those who already had dementia or were showing signs of the disease could also make the changes, which might slow the progression of their dementia, she said.

The Press is encouraging Cantabrians to improve their health and wellbeing by launching the first Summer Starter 10-kilometre fun run on November 30.

– The Press

To read more about health, well-being, and the Summer Starter, head to