Recently there were a couple of interesting reports on NPR dealing with secrets to living a long life, and ways to maintain memory. One key to living long is something that geriatric research has labeled, Adaptive Competence–think of it as viewing and dealing with the stresses and problems that come our way with a “glass half-full” attitude.
Memory preservation and avoidence of dementia is incompletely understood, but research is identifying things we can do to decrease our risk of developing dementia. We’ve addressed other ways to reduce this risk in this blog on the past, but this brief story dealt nicely with the concept of Cognitive Reserve. Think of Cognitive Reserve as part of the brain held in reserve and used to make up for damage that accumulates over the years from things like vascular disease, high blood pressure, alcohol, lack of sleep, and others. It appears that we can influence how much Cognitive Reserve we have by doing 2 important things: exercising and having a social network. This is yet another reason why joining Cornerstone includes a Fitness evaluation and the creation of an exercise regimen tailored to individual needs. And before some of you get too excited, by social network I don’t mean how many friends you have on Facebook, I mean how many friends you have in “real life.” So if you’ve been thinking about joining a group, volunteering, being more active at church or school, etc., do it!