And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. -Lev. 15:29
Hi all! Happy Tuesday!!! Or what I will call today Turtle Tuesday! (although I do like a good taco here and there…). Why Turtle Tuesday? “Because it is my blog and that is what I want to write about” may be too coarse of an answer and “because I am a goober” might be closer to the truth, so I will go with that.
Anywhoooooo, I was running Monday, getting ready for my 2 day running extravaganza in 3 weeks, and came across this cute little turtle! Look at the amazing patterns in his shell! I wish I could have brought him home, but I was far too far away to consider such. However, it did get me thinking…..
They do a darn good job of staying safe from most things working within their own little sphere of protection! Can we learn from them about staying safe from dementia? Of course we can! Next: How? I call on my favorite turtle, Bowser, to introduce:
(OK…I admit it, that was me…but trust me…you don’t want dementia.)
Brain safety-related- We simply have to guard our brain from physical injury. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike. Don’t participate in sports/activities that lead to head injury. Fall-proof your house. Having a Traumatic Brain Injury increases your likelihood of developing the disease.
Objective stats- This is a catch-all category by necessity. 🙂 Watch your blood sugar, your blood pressure, and watch your cholesterol. What is good for the heart is good for the brain. Get regular physicals and obey your PCP’s directives to have great blood work.
Weight-related- Manage your weight and maintain it with a solid diet. The Mediterranean and the MIND diets are widely regarded as the best and consider Weight Watchers along side these diets to keep better track of your diet and exercise.
Stress-related-There are two facets of this category: managing stress and its accompanying unfriend…not sleeping well. There are good ways and bad ways to manage stress. The good: deep breathing, prayer, meditation, relaxing, getting outdoors, and the like. Everyone has places that help and places that hinder stress-prevention. Focus on the help places and avoid the hinder ones. The bad: smoking, drugs, and excessive alcohol use. These may temporarily help you fight stress, but their contribution to dementia more than outweighs the stress prevention. While you are at this stress management, get some sleep. Sleeping enough to get at least 3 sleep cycles in per night (7-9 hours, typically) helps clear the plaques/tangles that are believed to me markers of dementia.
Engagement-related-You have to get out there and socialize. You have to exercise the brain muscle too. When you work out at a fitness center, you do more than one thing, right? I mean, you may use weights one day, a treadmill a different day, and a bike the next. Isn’t it interesting that trying out a new activity, even for someone otherwise in great shape, can just flat wear you out? The same can be said with learning something very new. It has been shown that learning a new musical instrument or another language, especially late in life, helps the brain be more resilient to dementia. Do it! 🙂
Running…or another exercise-30-60 minutes of exercise that is easy enough to allow you to talk but hard enough to prevent you from singing 4-5 days a week is ideal…but every little bit helps. Some dementia is vascular-oriented (veins) so healthy blood flow is very important. Again…yet one more time…what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Exercise is great for both.
I think of turtles and how safe they are…but I also see them flattened far too often. Were the being careless? Were the trying to cross traffic on a highway rather than in the country? Every story is different, but if only some of their untimely demises were prevented, it would be amazing. In dementia, it is widely considered that between 33-50% of cases can be avoided with some combination of the advice Bowser gave us above. Isn’t that worth considering?
Update: I get to see mom this evening. All is clear on the Western Front, but she is still wheezy. I will know more tonight over dinner.
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple update– Aside from seeing the turtle, I had another wildlife emergency that almost derailed me from the run:
On my long prep run Saturday, at about mile 18 and waaaaaaay out on the trail in the boonies, I am running along and see this snake in my path mid-air. I was literally in a collision course with him…and changed direction like a cartoon in mid-air and just missed him. He lunged at me any time I got near to take a picture, but he was a Copperhead. If he would have bit me, I was out of cell service and would have had to walk a mile or more to get an ambulance called. It would have been quite bad…but PTL it wasn’t. 🙂
I twisted my ankle in the process, but I will be ok. I took a day off and ran 10 yesterday. It will take more than a snake or a mean turtle who was unhappy that I made him talk on my blog, to keep me from finishing.
If you feel so led, there is still 1 week to order my dementia shirt. Here is the link:
If you are not a shirt person, but would be willing to donate to my mission to help the Alzheimer’s Association and SeniorAge, here is that link:
Three weeks from today is the super challenging day 2 of my run. I feel safe that I can make day 1 with minimal injury to life and limb. Day two? Take Bowser’s word for it:
Happy Turtle Tuesday! 🙂
BTW- If you are not a Mario fan nor know who Bowser is, sorry about this piece. 🙂 The prevention tips are still good and we will resume my normal level of corniness later this week. 🙂
***This is fair use of this image. 🙂 The opinions expressed here by Mark Applegate and/or Digital Cornbread are in no way expressing the opinions of Bowser or any other fictitious character… However, they are correct. 🙂