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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shawn A. Weiss, PT, DPT, CDP, CADDCT

20-Week Lifestyle Plan to Reduce Dementia Risk

Updated: Jul 2

Practical takeaways from global studies aim to reduce our risk for developing Alzheimer's and dementia. Dr. Shawn Weiss joins Suzanne Newman on the Answers for Elders podcast to talk more how to apply these recommendations to our everyday lives. One 20-week lifestyle plan was developed by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention Intervention and Care. The plan has four components that focus on diet, exercise, stress management, and support groups.

There's a 30% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment by changing to whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Break down the diet to 14% total fat, 16%-18% protein, 63-68% complex carbohydrates. A Mediterranean diet checks all the boxes: a lot of fish, a lot of nuts. Hydration is also important.

30 minutes of walking per day, even broken into chunks, is the best overall exercise you can do. Strength and resistance training three times per week is essential, even if you're just lifting soup cans from the pantry. Other whole exercises, such as stretching, flexibility, meditation, in a home exercise program is recommended.

Dr. Weiss says, "The last two things were: one, stress management and meditation, yoga, flexibility exercises, breathing strategies. And then the last one was the support groups, and they broke those support groups down into three times per week and they exercise together. They did stretch management techniques, they did straight support group talks, and lectures and education in those three times a week. At Senior Health and, you can find some great information and other videos that I've done."

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