• What is a healthy brain lifestyle? What can corporations do?

    Brain Awareness Week 12th – 18th March

What is a healthy brain lifestyle? What can corporations do?

The 12th to 18th of March is Brain Awareness Week. This global campaign raises awareness of the benefits and progress of brain research. Brain research helps with diagnosis, treatment and prevention of many disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, schizophrenia and depression. Brain Awareness Week also raises awareness about the importance of developing a healthy brain lifestyle.

What is a healthy brain lifestyle?

The Cleveland Clinic refers to Six Pillars of Brain Health:

  1. Physical Exercise – Exercise increases heart rate which then pumps more oxygen to the brain. Exercise improves memory, mood and sleep, and reduces stress. Exercise also lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercising in the morning kick-starts your brain activity for the day. If you incorporate coordination with cardiovascular exercises (such as dance), you’re then giving yourself a mental exercise as well as physical exercise.
  2. Food and Nutrition – Our brain is constantly active and therefore requires fuel. Food is our brain fuel, and our brain operates best with food high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A balanced diet that incorporates wholegrains, essential fatty acids, amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals will contribute to a healthy brain. It is best to avoid high salt foods, sugar, trans fats, and alcohol.
  3. Medical Health – Medical conditions such as diabetes, depression, obesity, and high cholesterol increase the risk of dementia. Keeping healthy with regular medical check-ins will therefore contribute to your brain health. The other six pillars also contribute to better medical health – if you’re active, eat well, challenge your brain and get plenty of sleep, this will all lead to improved health.
  4. Sleep and Relaxation – Research has discovered that sleep deprivation can lead to shrinkage of the brain, and even irreversible damage to the brain for those with chronic sleep deprivation. There is no magic number of hours that works for everyone. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours each night. Technology can help record the hours you’re sleeping and can also help you fall asleep with meditation music.
  5. Mental Fitness – Like any muscle, we need to exercise our brain for optimal health. Mental exercises improve our brain’s functioning and stimulates new cell growth, decreasing our risk of dementia. Exercising your brain can involve small activities such as brushing your teeth with your opposite hand, through to learning a language or musical instrument. Technology can also help mental fitness with trivia apps, brain teasers, and puzzles all available on our smart phones.
  6. Social Interaction – Some groups of nerve cells are directly influenced by social interaction. An active social life can help mitigate memory loss and decrease the risk of dementia. Joining a club, getting a pet, and regularly seeing friends and family all provide positive social interactions. Research even suggests social media and online communities are assisting in building positive social interactions.

What can corporations do for Brain Awareness Week?

SMG encourages our clients to support Brain Awareness Week. Supporting this initiative will lead to a healthier workforce and support further research in this vital area. Some initiatives to consider during Brain Awareness Week:

  • Trivia Night – Organise a charity trivia night and ask each participant to donate to brain research. The trivia night also leads to a healthy brain lifestyle by building your mental fitness and increasing your social interaction.
  • Healthy Brain Morning Tea – Hold a healthy brain morning tea with foods rich in vitamins that support your memory and cognitive ability. These foods include, blueberries, avocados, and nuts and seeds.
  • Healthy Brain Seminar – Organise a neuroscientist or sleep coach to facilitate a working session on the importance of exercise, diet and sleep on your brain. Informative sessions raise awareness and provide simple techniques to improve your team’s daily lives.
  • Introduce a Wellbeing Program – SMG’s Kiqplan wellbeing program touches on many of the pillars required for a healthy brain – Activity, nutrition, sleep and stress. Start a wellbeing program today and see the benefits in your team’s energy and productivity!

Brain Awareness Week is an important initiative to raise awareness for brain research. We would love to hear about any initiatives that you and your team undertake during this period.



Kylee Randall

Head of Consultancy & Special Projects

Kylee Randall has spent the last 17 years in roles focussed on developing high productivity, resilient cultures in corporations. She has successfully delivered complex projects that integrate technology and people. Kylee has witnessed the value wellbeing provides to organisations, striving to promote this mentality in all projects. Kylee’s qualifications include a business degree, Master of Business Administration (Sustainable Business) and she is currently studying a Post Graduate Diploma in IT.

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