To nominate yourself or someone else as a Brain Health Champion you must be active in at least two of the six Brain Health Commandments, which are explained as follows:

brain-commandments_eat-smart

The brain is a marvelous machine, and it needs the right fuel to run most efficiently. Tell us how you seek out the right foods. Describe your healthy eating practices that power the brain to build new connections and prevent declining cognitive abilities as we age.

brain-commandments_work-out

No matter when you start, exercise – and especially regular aerobic exercise – has proven brain-boosting benefits. Exercises increases blood flow which means more oxygen and nourishment gets to the brain. Do you run marathons, cycle on or off-road, take your dog on a daily walk, play tennis, hike the countryside? Tell us how you work your muscles to work your brain.

brain-commandments_chill-out

When you’re stressed, your brain and body focus on survival. While the occasional adrenaline rush helps build new neural pathways, chronic stress can lead to brain shrinkage, negatively affecting both memory and mood. Tell us what you do to relax, to control stress and to make life enjoyable.

brain-commandments_hang-out

Research shows that people with rich social networks are less likely to be depressed and more likely to stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease than their less-connected peers. If being a social butterfly builds better brains then what is it that you do to cultivate and maintain close friendships? How do you stay socially involved?

brain-commandments_challenge

Learning something new is more than a matter of exercising the brain you’ve got — it actually means building more brain. As we exercise our mental facilities, the brain encodes that information by making new connections between neurons. As these new connections are used again and again, the neurons become one unit dedicated to working quickly and efficiently. The more you learn, the better you get at learning. Tell us about your love affair with learning. How do you stay mentally challenged?

brain-commandments_purpose

All brains collect plaques and tangles as they age, but those don’t always manifest as disease. Interestingly, people who have some driving purpose in life — whether it’s dedication to a cause, volunteerism, a hobby, or art — have less cognitive impairment than those that don’t, even when their brains show similar patterns of wear and tear. Perhaps it’s the power of positive thinking, or the brain’s way of reaching a defined goal, but clarity of purpose seems to keep us thinking more clearly. How do you live with purpose?