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How To Keep Your Brain Fit: 5 Health Tips To Help Avoid Alzheimer's Disease

ByKim West
Sep 23, 2014 09:26 PM EDT

Fitness crazes are usally about about tight abs, firm buns, and a small waistline, but neurosurgeon, Dr. Brett Osborn says arguably our most essential organ to keep healthy is the brain.

"There are several, multi-billion dollar industries out there dedicated to burning fat and building muscle, but cognitive health, on the other hand, has been largely overlooked," Osborn told us.

September's is World Alzheimer's Month. It's also the beginning of football season and the start of many sports teams for children and adults.

"By now, we know that many sports can trigger head trauma, whether through big hits resulting in concussions or moderate, repeated blows," Osborn explained.

Obviously being physically fit is great for our health.  But in addition to strength and endurance, Osborn also has brains workouts to keep in mind. 

The expert says we must protect and exercise our noggens. Osborn offers his expert tips to help everyone maintain brain health:

Learn new skills. "Just as with other health concerns, brain health should be rooted in the prevention of disease," he told us. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease, the causes of which, and the cure, are unknown.

"However, it's widely thought that brain stimulation and activity can delay the onset of the disease. The acquisition of a new skill - whether it's learning to play an instrument or taking up waterskiing - exercises the brain 'muscle,' Osborn continued."

Commit to actual exercise. Everyone knows that exercise helps protect the heart, but not everyone knows that physical activity is also good for the brain. "The brain is not a muscle, but it can be worked as muscle is worked during exercise, which forges new neuron pathways."

"Let's face it, there is a component of learning in exercise," Osborn said. "You cannot master the squat overnight; the brain has to change. Neuronal connections, or 'synapses,' are formed through very complex biophysical mechanisms. That takes time."

Look out for Part Two of our talk with Dr. Osborn tomorrow for more of his brain fitness tips.

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