Most of us try to look after our bodies and want to keep fit and well, but have you considered your brain?

At the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust we are proud to present our 'Show Your Brain Some Love' campaign to help keep your brain healthy. We would like to introduce Birt, who has six top tips to share with you:

1) Protection - Wearing a well-fastened helmet helps give you protection from head and brain injuries

2) Nutrition - A balanced diet can prevent age-related cognitive decline and help preserve brain function

3) Learning - Practising new skills will have a positive impact on your brain

4) Exercise - A daily brisk walk of one mile can change the size of your brain and improve memory

5) Mindfulness - Daily experiences of positive emotions build personal resources and increase well-being

6) Awareness - Chronic heavy drinking can make your brain shrink and drug use can affect your decisions

Our Show Your Brain Some Love campaign was launched to co-incide with the Brain Injury Awareness Week, as a way to show how you can help to prevent brain injury.

You might have seen Birt's smiling face on our social media profiles, too. If you see him on Twitter or Facebook please share or retweet him to help us share these important tips to keep your brain healthy!

We would love to see fun photos of you recreating the top tips – show Birt how it’s done! Remember to use our hashtag #LoveBirt for the chance to have your photo retweeted.

Download our Show Your Brain Some Love leaflet.

All the top tips are based on academic, peer reviewed research. References can be seen below.

Sources

1) Yu, W. Y., Chen, C. Y., Chiu, W. T., & Lin, M. R. (2011). Effectiveness of different types of motorcycle helmets and effects of their improper use on head injuries. International Journal of Epidemiology,40(3), 794-803.

2) Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-578.

3) Bak, T. H., Nissan, J. J., Allerhand, M. M., & Deary, I. J. (2014). Does bilingualism influence cognitive aging? Annals of Neurology,75(6), 959-963. Park, D. C., Lodi-Smith, J., Drew, L., Haber, S., Hebrank, A., Bischof, G. N., & Aamodt, W. (2014). The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: The Synapse Project.Psychological Science,25(1), 103-112.

4) Erickson, K.I, Voss, M.W, Prakash R.S., Basak, C., Szabo, A., Chaddock, L., Kim, J.S., Heo, S., Alves, H., White, S.M., Wojcicki, T.R., Mailey, E., Vieira, V.J., Martin, S.A., Pence, B.D., Woods, J.A., McAuley, E., Kramer, A. F. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,108 (7), 8017-3022. Erickson, Raji, Lopez, Becker, Rosano, Newman, Gach, Thompson & Kuller (2010). Physical activity predicts gray matter volume in late adulthood: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Neurology, 75(16), 1415-1422.

5) Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062.

6) Bjork, J. M., Grant, S. J., & Hommer, D. W. (2003). Cross-sectional volumetric analysis of brain atrophy in alcohol dependence: effects of drinking history and comorbid substance use disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(11), 1-8. Yücel, M., Solowij, N., Respondek, C., Whittle, S., Fornito, A., Pantelis, C., & Lubman, D. I. (2008). Regional brain abnormalities associated with long-term heavy cannabis use. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65(6), 694-701.

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