(KXNET) — It is never too early to practice healthy aging.

According to a news release from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), the things we do that keep our body and heart healthy also help promote brain health and wellness.

These are things like having a nutritious diet, physical activity, and social connections.

To help people be more proactive about protecting their brain health, the AFA is sharing 10 steps to successful aging.

“Lifestyle choices play a vital role in healthy aging and brain health, and it’s never too soon to start,” said AFA’s President and CEO, Charles J. Fuschillo. “Eating right, exercising the body and mind, getting proper sleep, and being socially active all contribute to healthy aging and good brain health, and can potentially reduce the risk of developing a dementia-related illness.”

Here are the 10 steps for healthy aging from the AFA:

  1. Eat Well:
    • Adopt a low-fat diet that’s high in fruits and veggies like strawberries, blueberries, and broccoli.
    • Take daily vitamins.
    • Limit the consumption of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt, and sugar.
    • Foods that are “heart healthy” are “brain healthy.”
  2. Stay Active:
    • Physical activity increases the blood flow to the brain and can improve your mood and overall well-being.
    • Brisk walking benefits brain health, aerobics boosts the heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
  3. Learn New Things:
    • Challenge the brain by starting a new hobby, this can be things like playing tennis, learning a foreign language, or a cooking class.
    • This could even be something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, as it forces you to think outside of your normal routine.
  4. Get Enough Sleep:
    • A consistent night’s sleep is key, this is seven to nine hours each night.
    • A good sleep environment is helpful.
    • Insomnia or sleep apnea can cause physical effects and negatively impact memory or thinking.
  5. Mind Your Meds:
    • Medications impact each person differently, especially as you age.
    • When getting a new medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  6. Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol:
    • Smoking increases the risk of serious illnesses.
    • Alcohol impairs judgment and causes accidents.
  7. Stay Connected:
    • Social interactions and keeping an active social life are both very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation, and mood.
    • Hang out with friends and family for meals or board games.
    • Engage with your community and participate in group activities.
  8. Know Your Blood Pressure:
    • Blood pressure impacts cognitive functioning.
    • See your doctor regularly to check your blood pressure and make sure it’s in the normal range.
  9. See Your Doctor:
    • You should maintain regular checkups.
    • Health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, these all impact brain health.
    • Talk with your doctor about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
  10. Get a Memory Screening:
    • Brains in regular checkups, just like other parts of our bodies.
    • Memory screenings are quick, noninvasive exams of the brain.
    • AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday. You can visit AFA’s website to learn more about getting a free virtual memory screening.
    • You can also talk to your doctor about getting one during your annual wellness exam.

People who would like to learn more about healthy aging, brain health, or memory screenings can contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline by phone at (866) 232-8484, webchat, or text message at (646) 586-5283 every day of the week.