Cognitive Health Tips

Small changes can add up to a big impact

Look after your general health

Your overall health impacts the health of your brain, so maintain a healthy lifestyle and ensure any medical conditions are well treated.

Look after your heart health by improving your cholesterol, blood pressure and reducing other vascular risk factors.

Maintain a good diet and a healthy weight.

Have regular health checks

A proactive approach to managing chronic health issues such as diabetes is important from middle age.

Look After Your Hearing

Research has found an association between hearing loss and reduced cognitive function, and hearing impairment is a significant risk factor for dementia.

Protect your ears from excessive noise exposure.

Have your hearing checked and wear hearing aids if recommended.

Keep Active

Being physically active has many benefits, including benefits for your brain.

Try to be physically active every day, such as taking a daily brisk walk.

If you are not already physically active, try to increase your physical activity with a graded introduction of aerobic exercise 3-4 times per week.

Choose physical activities that you enjoy and make them part of your daily habit.

Stay socially connected

Connecting with other people through social activities helps keep your brain active and can also boost your mood.

Social contact helps you feel more involved with the world around you and less isolated, which is good for your brain.

Maintain contact with friends and family, arrange and attend social activities, group, community activities, and outings.

Talk and be there for a friend or family member in need; social connectedness engages your brain and promotes wellbeing.

Get plenty of sleep

Good sleep habits are important for learning, memory, mood, and overall health.

Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline and sleep problems can lead to difficulties with concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions.

Ensure you get good quality sleep and have any issues such as sleep apnoea addressed.

Look after your psychological health

Low mood, anxiety, stress, and depression can all affect your memory and thinking.

If you are depressed or anxious it can be harder to keep socially active and engage in mentally stimulating activities.

Seeking treatment for any signs of low mood, depression or anxiety can help your cognition.

Learn constructive ways to manage stress and know where to obtain help if you need it.

Stay mentally stimulated

Participating in activities that are mentally stimulating helps keep your mind active.

Take up a hobby, learn a skill, or try something new to challenge your brain. Choose activities you find meaningful as this will also bring a sense of purpose.

Consider volunteering and participate in social activities that you find mentally stimulating, meaningful, and can enjoy in on a regular basis.

Protect your head

There is some evidence to suggest traumatic brain injuries may increase a person’s risk of dementia, but further research is needed.

Protect your brain and head from injury by wearing a helmet when riding a bike, motorbike, or horse, playing contact or high-risk sport, or visiting a building site.

Don’t abuse alcohol

Drinking alcohol to excess is not good for your brain.

Long-term heavy alcohol use can affect your memory, balance, coordination, and increases your risk of other illnesses and damage to your brain due to injury from falls and other adverse events.

Drink alcohol only in moderation and follow the Australian guidelines. These recommend healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

Switch to non- or low-alcohol drinks or alternate these with alcoholic drinks when socialising.

Don’t smoke

Smoking is harmful to your body and your brain.

If you smoke, make up your mind to quit and seek help if necessary.

Smoking is a strong risk factor for many health problems including conditions that affect cognition.

Eat a Mediterranean diet

Mediterranean diets are traditionally high in fruits, vegetables, and legumes and low in saturated fat and sugar. A Mediterranean diet is associated with many positive health outcomes including being good for your brain.

A diet high in saturated fat, processed food, sugar, and salt can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and other vascular risk factors that can affect your brain and general health.