The aim of this blog is to eat right, exercise regularly and live past 100 with a fully functioning brain. I just ran across a fascinating survey done last year by AARP. I thought it had some very useful information that coincides with things I have written for this blog.
AARP conducted a survey among adults age 18 and over to understand the link between healthy behaviors and mental well-being. This study also sought to determine what motivates engagement in brain-healthy behaviors and which behaviors they are likely to adopt.
Key findings include:
• Mental well-being scores increase with age. Those age 54 and older have higher than average mental well-being scores (assessed on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale). Mental well-being is low during middle age but, after midlife, it markedly improves.
• Managing stress effectively and pursuing a purpose in life are the two activities most closely-associated with mental well-being. Socializing with friends and family, learning new things, getting enough sleep, reading, and eating a healthy diet, are also consistently linked to mental well-being.
• The more brain healthy activities an adult engages in, the higher their mental well-being. Conversely, failing to engage in healthy behaviors (e.g. socializing, managing stress effectively, exercise and diet, etc.) is linked to below average mental well-being scores.
• There is a general desire to maintain brain health driven mainly by personal motivations of independence and ongoing personal achievement/enjoyment of life. “Maintaining independence” and “maintaining overall health” are the two most-cited motivators for maintaining brain health.
• Most adults believe they can improve brain health. Eight in 10 Americans say behaviors can improve brain health and 7 in 10 say they engage in such behaviors.
• Those not engaging in brain-healthy behaviors often cite a lack of time or a lack of knowledge about which behaviors are brain-healthy as the reason for failing to do so.
• Limiting alcohol is what the largest percentage of adults say they would do for the sake of their brain health. Other activities they would engage in include reading, various forms of increased physical activity, and prayer. Likelihood to engage in these top activities increases with age and personal experience (e.g., those knowing someone with dementia).
I have posted on several items in the AARP’s list to which I would like to call your attention.
Stress is a killer. I have written a number of posts on how to deal with it and also how it hurts us. You can search STRESS in the search box at the right for links to the posts. If you read nothing also, check out Super tools for handling stress which is loaded with good information on it.
Finally, since this is about mental and physical well being, you might want to read my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits.)