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Are you a “clever clogs?” 

Funny saying and I don’t know the origin. Perhaps the Dutch are clever people?

Bu being a “clever clogs” means you are switched on, mentally alert, capable and performing well. You may also have sore feet, as I don’t know about you but those wooden boats as shoes look remarkably uncomfortable.

It’s Dementia Awareness week and the Alzheimer’s Association WA has been doing a stirling job in promoting general awareness of what dementia is, how it can be managed and… how it can be potentially prevented.

Having been teaching brain fitness for the last couple of years, last night was music to my ears to listen to Associate Professor, Geriatrician Susan Kirrle from the University of Sydney present on the risk factors both modifiable and non modifiable in relation to reducing the risk of dementia. 

She used the example of the wonderful Madame Jeanne Calment, who lived to the ripe old age of 122 without any impairment to her mental faculties. Madame Jeanne took up fencing (the sport) as a hobby at the age of 85, lived alone until the age of 110, kept riding her bike until she was 100, lived in France (and so naturally ate the Mediterranean way), enjoyed her daily port or red wine and one kg of dark chocolate a week, and lived in an apartment that was three flights up (so she got lots of daily exercise).

Yes you did read that right. Clearly a bit of a chocoholic, Madame indulged in her dark chocolate like there was no tomorrow.

Oh, and she gave up smoking at 120. She used to have two cigarettes a day. Tsk tsk.

Guess what. It’s all about looking after our brains across our lifespan and ensuring that we:

1. Eat healthily following a Mediterranean diet with some extra turmeric and berries

2. Exercise. This above EVERYTHING else is what makes the biggest difference to maintaining cognitive health and function. We simply need to get off our butt. (Pardon my French.)

3. Stimulate the brain with ongoing mental challenge with new hobbies, learning to play a musical instrument and perhaps a new language. 

4. Look after our brain by managing stress levels and managing any associated medical conditions that can impair great thinking, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression and stopping smoking.

Sound familiar? Well of course this is what my book “Brain Fit” talks about using the acronym NAME.

N: Nutrition

A:  Attitude and Stress Management

M: Mental Challenge

E:  Exercise 

Want to know how you can elevate your brain’s performance? To find out more about how brain fitness can keep your mind sharp whether you are a student studying hard or working in the workplace, why not come along to my Brain Fitness workshop on Saturday 21st September at UWA Extension

Your brain will thank you for it.

Tickets available here.


Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24832955@N02/8611700640/”>joeke pieters</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/help/general/#147″>cc</a>

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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