Environmental issues now top Canadians' list of concerns, according to a January 2007 study by Decima research. Between predictions of peak oil and forecasts of global climate change, we've become aware that it really is a small world, and we're using up resources at an unsustainable rate.
It's like feeding a family of four on a meal made for two -- at some point, you're going to run out. In fact, if the average person on this planet used as many resources as the average Canadian, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, we'd need four more planets to keep us going.
However, even though the average Canadian uses many more resources than the planet can provide, each of us ranks differently on the scale. So where do you fit in? Take this quiz to find out just how big your footprint is.
Part 1: Multiple choice
1. How often do you drive? a) Never -- I walk, bike and take public transportation to get where I'm going. b) Sometimes -- I use my car when I need to, but also use other methods to get around, including to work. c) Mostly -- I drive to work (although I sometimes carpool) and use the car for most errands. d) My car's my second home, and I'm usually by myself when I'm driving.
2. During the winter, what temperature is your furnace set to while you're at home? a) 22C (72F) or higher b) 21C (70F) c) 20C (68F) d) 19C (66F) or lower
3. How often do you eat animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs? a) At most meals b) I eat dairy and eggs often, but I don't eat meat more than five times per week. c) I'm vegetarian, but I eat dairy and eggs. d) I'm a vegan; I don't eat any animal products.
4. How do you cool your house in the summer? a) I open the windows and blinds during the night and keep them closed during the day, and use fans if I feel the need. b) As above, and I turn on the air conditioning when it's extremely hot or humid. c) I run the air conditioner most of the time, but keep the thermostat set at 24C or above, and make use of energy-saving measures (such as power-cycling systems) if they're available where I live. d) I run the air conditioner most of the time and keep it set at 23C or lower.
5. What steps do you take to limit water usage in your home? a) None b) I don't let the water run while brushing my teeth or doing the dishes, or I have an energy- and water-efficient dishwasher and run it only when full; I also make sure that none of my taps are dripping. c) As above, plus I have an energy- and water-efficient washing machine (and only do full loads of laundry) and limit showers and baths. d) As above; in addition, I have a water-limiting device installed in my toilet (or a water-saving toilet) and limit the amount of times I flush; I also have a rain barrel installed outdoors to collect water for the houseplants and garden.
Part 2: True or false?
1. I have replaced some or all of my regular lightbulbs with compact fluorescents, and I turn lights off whenever I don't need them. 2. I fly once or less per year. 3. My household composts most of its food waste. 4. I try to purchase goods that use as little packaging as possible; for instance, when buying fruits and vegetables, I don't bag them separately or I bring a reusable bag for that purpose. 5. My household (of four) produces less than half a can of garbage each week. 6. I water my garden during the morning or evening, and only as much as is necessary; I let my lawn go brown during the summer, or don't have a lawn. 7. I bring my own bag when shopping, and turn down bags at stores as often as possible. 8. I try to save energy when doing laundry by using only cold water and washing full loads, and I hang laundry to dry whenever possible. 9. When given the option, I choose to buy locally produced goods rather than imported ones. 10. I live in an apartment or condo, or in an energy-efficient house shared with other people.
Page 1 of 2 -- Find out what your score is and what it means on page 2
Add your score:
Part 1: 1. a) 4 b) 3 c) 2 d) 1 2. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 3. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4 4. a) 4 b) 3 c) 2 d) 1 5. a) 1 b) 2 c) 3 d) 4
Part 2: Add one point to your score for each "true" answer.
What does your score mean? After adding up your points, check below to find out where you stand -- then go to the bottom of the page for links on how to increase your score.
5-8 points: Giant footprint When it comes to the environment, you're leaving behind a sasquatch-size footprint. Either you don't care very much about conserving resources, or you just aren't informed -- but since you're taking this quiz, we'll assume the latter. Think of it this way: there's lots of room for improvement. Review part 2 of the quiz for steps you can take to raise your score, but most importantly, go back to basics. Try to cut back on how much power and water you use, and drive less.
9-16: Big footprint You're on your way. You make an effort in some areas, but there's definitely more you can do. To decrease your impact, evaluate your scoring and figure out where you were losing points, and focus your efforts there. Also check out the articles below for more ideas on living a greener life.
17-25: Medium footprint Nice job, green queen -- you're definitely doing your part, and it's appreciated by future generations! Now think about how you can make even more improvements. Is there one area where you scored particularly low -- for instance, water conservation or driving? Consider how you can do better.
25-30: Small footprint You eco superstar! You obviously put in a lot of effort to reduce your footprint -- congratulations! Just remember that no one's perfect, and it's easy to slack off when you get comfortable. So give yourself a pat on the back, and then look for even more ways to conserve -- think about carbon offsetting as one way to do even better.
On Hollywood's biggest night (aka the Oscars) the stars always look incredible. Here are our favourite looks and trends from the 2017 Academy Awards.
Our favourite red carpet dresses from the 2017 Oscars ranged from red hot (Ruth Negga) to classic (Taraji P. Henson) to super romantic (Hailee Steinfeld). See our favourite looks from the Academy Awards below.
Ruth Negga in custom Valentino
Image by: Getty Images
Negga, who is nominated for her role in Loving, paired a demure dress silhouette with a fiery colour. We love the lace detailing on her custom Valentino gown—which she paired with Irene Neuwirth jewellery (including that incredible crown. That blue ribbon she accessorized her dress with? It’s to show her solidarity with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
Hailee Steinfeld in Ralph & Russo
Image by: Getty Images
This dress is the most romantic. With pastel colours, metallic florals, a delicate scalloped neckline and soft flowy fabric, Hailee Steinfeld is the picture of feminine romance. Good thing she paired this stunning dress with a smoky eye to keep things young and modern.
Olivia Culpo in Marchesa
Image by: Getty Images
Culpo not only wore a stunning custom gown from Marchesa, the gown was made in collaboration with Stella Artois to benefit Water.org. We especially love the fringe detailing and that delicate black bow at the waist.
Octavia Spencer in Marchesa
Image by: Getty Images
Spencer looked stunning in this silver, feathery dress by Marchesa. The feathers look artful—not gimmicky—and the colour is gorgeous. Take notes people, because this is how you embrace texture on the red carpet.
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton
Image by: Getty Images
We love this plunging neckline on Michelle Williams—and the fact that she swapped her usual column gown for this softer silhouette. The two tone blocking isn’t something we usually see on the red carpet, but to combo of classic black and soft golden shimmer are subtly elegant.
Viola Davis in Armani Prive
Image by: Getty Images
We’re suckers for a stunning red dress—so Viola Davis’ off-the-shoulder number is one of our faves. The neckline is super flattering to her toned arms and she wisely chooses to let that colour own the look by keeping hair, makeup and accessories simple. Bravo.
Busy Phillips in Stella McCartney
Image by: Getty Images
More velvet on the red carpet! This strapless hunter green dress is so flattering on Busy Phillips. The polka dot panelling and rounded neckline make this simple silhouette much more interesting.
Emma Stone in Givenchy
Image by: Getty Images
Stone goes for the gold (a trending colour) at the 2017 Oscars. This delicate and detailed (That fringe! The beading!) column gown isn’t as risqué as past red carpet choices for the actress—but of course she stuns in just about anything. Is anyone else getting old Hollywood vibes? Applause all around for this outstanding look.
Not many women can pull off a dress the same colour as their skin tone, but Nicole Kidman is a red carpet pro—so she does it effortlessly. The delicate beading and 90s-era neckline have us swooning over this Armani Prive gown.
Taraji P. Henson in Alberto Ferretti
Image by: Getty Images
Sometimes sinple is best. Henson wore a simple navy velvet dress (yes, we know it looks black) with a high slit and off-the-shoulder neckline. She complemented her almost-LBD with a stunning diamond necklace. Simple, elegant and drop dead gorgeous.
Charlize Theron in Dior Couture
Image by: Getty Images
Metallic and gold were clear winners on the red carpet tonight, so it makes sense that the always-stunning Theron would embrace the trend. We love the deep neckline and pleating of this stunning dress.
Dainty and flavourful, everyone loves to indulge in tiny bites of traditional tea sandwiches. Though they appear finicky to make, these tea sandwiches are easy to assemble and entirely make-ahead.
Pinwheel Sandwiches Trim crusts from 5 slices white or whole wheat sandwich loaf, cut Pullman-style. (Ask bakery to cut sandwich loaf horizontally, or Pullman style.) Using rolling pin, flatten slices slightly. Spread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread with filling.
Place 1 asparagus spear (or 2 baby gherkins) along 1 short end of each. Starting at asparagus, roll up tightly without squeezing. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. With serrated knife, trim ends; cut each roll into 6 slices.
Makes 30 pieces. Pinwheel Sandwich recipe: Curried Egg Salad Triangle Sandwiches Spread 16 thin slices whole wheat or white sandwich bread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread filling evenly over 8 of the slices. Top with remaining slices, pressing lightly. Place on rimmed baking sheet and cover with damp tea towel; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Trim off crusts. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces.
Makes 32 pieces. Triangle Sandwich recipe: Ham Pickle Spread Square Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above except use 8 thin slices white and 8 thin slices whole wheat sandwich bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters.
Makes 32 pieces.Square Sandwich recipe: Pimiento Cheese Spread Finger Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above. Cut each sandwich lengthwise into 4 fingers.
Makes 32 pieces. Finger Sandwich recipe: Tuna Olive Salad
Choose the best-quality bread. Never serve end slices. Freezing bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
Bread should be lightly buttered no matter what the filling. Butter should be at room temperature before spreading. Sandwiches will not become limp and soggy as readily if you spread butter right to edge of bread.
Cut crusts off bread with long, sharp knife after (not before) assembling sandwiches. This keeps everything neater.
Since tea sandwiches should be delicate, cut each sandwich into thirds or quarters or in half diagonally. Or use cookie cutters to cut into decorative shapes.
Rediscover Ottawa, which walks the line between charming town and cosmopolitan city, with first-class cultural and historic experiences.
Modern digs: Alt Hotel Ottawa Rest your head at the Canadian-owned Alt Hotel in downtown Ottawa, where you can grab snacks (or full meals) in the lobby and keep up your yoga practice with the hotel's new Nama-Stay yoga videos. Bonus: The Alt is eco-friendly, with geothermal energy used for heating and cooling, plus energy-efficient lighting.
Historic haven: The Century House Bed and Breakfast Ottawa With just four rooms, The Century House offers a quaint stay without skimping on modern amenities such as free parking and Wi-Fi. It's known for its gourmet breakfasts (think indulgent waffles or a hearty frittata), served up family-style in the dining room.
Morning munch: Benny's Bistro Hidden behind The French Baker in the ByWard Market, this is a tiny gem that serves some of our all-time favourite brekkies. Order the buckwheat crêpe, which is stuffed with ham and Gruyère and topped with an egg.
Dinner hour: Absinthe Café Stop by this Wellington West hot spot for French-inspired cuisine and a taste of its namesake drink. On Monday nights, there's a special fondue menu; go with friends and order cheese and meat varieties to share, then finish with the Valrhona chocolate fondue for dessert.
Sweet treat: Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen Try small-batch ice creams and ice cream truffles made with Ontario dairy and fresh, sometimes surprising, ingredients, like craft beer or lime leaves.
Spring: C'est Bon Gourmet Food Tours Take a guided walking and tasting tour of one of Ottawa's famed foodie neighbourhoods: the ByWard Market, Wellington Street, Preston Street (Little Italy), the Glebe or Chinatown.
Summer: Yowttawa This outdoor music fest will celebrate the country's 150th anniversary with performances by Canadian artists, plus contributions by other international artists.
Fall: The Canada Science and Technology Museum After $80.5 million in renos, the museum will reopen in November, just in time for its 50th anniversary of celebrating Canadian innovations, such as a prototype of the world's first pacemaker and a cobalt-60 therapy machine from the '50s—at the time, a revolutionary new way to deliver radiation to cancer patients.
Winter:Nordik Spa-Nature Spend a day rotating between the spa's seven outdoor baths and eight saunas. Book a massage for ultimate R&R.
WHAT'S CLOSE BY? If you have the time to range farther afield, here are three other spots to see in Ontario.
2 1/2 hours away: Thousand Islands A pretty archipelago with ton of history (it was once pirate territory!), this region is now an ideal spot to go boating, hiking and exploring historic castles.
3 hours away: Prince Edward County Visit a few of the dozens of artist studios and galleries in the region, where you can even take an art class—in between wine tastings, of course.
OTTAWA THE GREAT To celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial—the 150th anniversary of Confederation—Ottawa is leading the charge with a full year of awe-inspiring events. Here's a small sampling of what's on in our nation's capital.
March 3 and 4: Red Bull Crashed Ice Watch downhill skaters race to the finish line on a huge track that runs along the locks of the Rideau Canal— which will be the final leg of the 2016–17 ice cross downhill championship.
May 20 to Sept. 4: Inspiration Village Located in the historic ByWard Market, Inspiration Village will pay tribute to our provinces and territories, while also showcasing special exhibits and performing-arts events.
All summer long: Kontinuum, an "underground multimedia experience" Though the Confederation Line of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit won't open until 2018, one underground station will be transformed into a futuristic world by a 10-weeklong multimedia presentation.
Nov. 26: The 105th Grey Cup This year, Canada's capital will host the CFL's annual championship game.
Ignite 150: In a series of 17 stunts spaced throughout the year—from yoga on a barge accompanied by a live orchestra to gourmet dining at a table suspended nearly 50 metres in the air—Ottawa will delight visitors and residents with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Ottawa Welcomes the world: Ottawa's many embassies and high commissions will be given the opportunity to take over Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building with multicultural celebrations including food, art and music.
Agri 150: More than 20 unique one-day outdoor events in 2017 will showcase Ottawa's food and drink, such as the Wine and Words Tour, which will take participants to local wineries to sample wine and cheese, with a local author to tell stories at each stop.
With our country's 150th birthday around the corner, Ottawa will be pulling out all the stops when it comes to entertaining, enlightening and engaging Canadians. We can’t wait to take part in all the amazing events scheduled throughout the year.
Here are some scary truths: 70 percent of new Alzheimer's patients in Canada will be women, and we're diagnosed with depression and dementia at twice the rate of men. But new research says there are three simple lifestyle changes we can make right now to keep our brains healthy as we age.
You brush your teeth to prevent tooth decay and check your blood pressure to monitor for signs of heart problems. But are you doing anything to keep your brain in tip-top shape? Because you should be. Brain health, which experts define as a combination of cognitive (memory, attention, thinking) and mental (emotional well-being) fitness, is a major, albeit under-the- radar, health issue for Canadian women.
It's major because as we age, so do our brains. Vascular changes can decrease blood flow; we can lose volume in key areas, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, the regions responsible for learning and memory. Myelin, a fatty material that makes up the protective coating around nerve fibres, starts to deteriorate, causing the brain to slow down. And nerve cells can develop plaques and tangles— structures caused by the buildup of proteins called beta-amyloids that can disrupt the brain's normal function. In some people, these and other signs of normal aging can cause mental health problems, strokes and brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's, and increase the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Brain health is an under-the-radar issue because, though women are more likely to experience cognitive decline (thanks to dementia or Alzheimer's) and to suffer from depression, most of the research on these conditions still focuses on men.
Thankfully, studies are showing that straightforward lifestyle changes—exercising regularly and not smoking are at the top of the list—help shore up what researchers call "cognitive reserve," a buffer that "delays the changes or makes your body better equipped to handle those changes," says Lauren Drogos, a brain researcher at the University of Calgary.
In fact, Drogos says there's evidence to show that, in some people, even serious symptoms do not necessarily develop into cognitive impairment. She points to the Nun Study, a famous long-running research project on aging and Alzheimer's that has been tracking 678 nuns from convents across the United States since the mid-1980s. One of the nuns, Sister Mary, died at the age of 101 showing no outward signs of cognitive decline—but when researchers examined her brain, they were shocked to find she had "abundant neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, the classic lesions of Alzheimer's disease." Scientists don't know exactly why some people can have severe symptoms, such as plaques and tangles, without experiencing cognitive decline, but, happily, cases like Sister Mary do show that dementia isn't an inevitable part of aging.
And since women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with many of these problems, the more we consider brain health when making our day-to-day lifestyle decisions, the better. (Bonus: These changes also benefit your heart and help prevent other diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and cancer.) So here's what you can do to take care of your brain.
This is your brain on exercise If you had to pick just one lifestyle change to make in the name of brain health, experts agree exercise tops the list—especially for women.
We consider neuroplasticity, the brain's capacity to form new neural connections, an exciting part of a child's development, but we now know our brains can continue to grow, repair and improve as adults, too. Physical activity is a well-researched trigger. Not only can working out bolster our day-to-day functioning and alertness but it also appears to help us repair brain damage. Plus, it slows down aging and the onset of age-related brain diseases.
Working up a sweat and pumping up your heart rate can lead to a healthier vascular system in the brain, which decreases blood pressure and oxidative stress (when your body's antioxidants can't fight off free radicals), and increases antioxidant activity, according to Marc Poulin, an Alzheimer's researcher and professor of physiology at the University of Calgary. Vigorous exercise also floods the bloodstream with a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which readies the body for repair and heightens the brain's ability to learn and form new memories. Plus, hitting the gym helps the brain repair myelin; a lack of the nerve fibre–protecting substance is a factor in developing multiple sclerosis.
Exercising can also restore crucial brain volume. Research has shown that the hippocampus— home to memory, learning and emotion—starts shrinking after age 55 by about one to two percent a year, but just one year of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise done three days a week can increase its size by two percent.
And while most of the research is about the benefits of getting in your cardio, Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, says strength training is also effective, as it can enhance brain performance and function by 11 to 17 percent. "Women live longer [than men], and age itself is the greatest risk factor for dementia," she says. "But the good news is when we look at the benefit of aerobic exercise on cognition in older adults, women seem to benefit more."
The takeaway: You can reap the rewards from even a 15-minute walk. Of course, the longer you exercise, the better, especially if you get your sweat on and your heart rate up. If you want to tick a few other brain health tips off your list, consider joining a team sport. It blends physical, social and cognitive skills, and "can also add pleasure and meaning to our lives," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.
If you have an office job and find you're sedentary most of the day, take a few minutes every hour or so to get up and move around. Research also suggests switching to a standup desk may improve your brain function.
Did you know? Taking care of a loved one—most often a spouse in your later years—can be a risk factor for developing depression and, eventually, dementia . But research out of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto found, for the first time, that cognitive behavioural therapy, a form of talk therapy, can improve both mood and cognition.
This is your brain on sleep After a good night's sleep, you feel alert and ready to tackle the day. But that's not just because your brain has been resting. It has also been busy filing away memories and taking out the trash, so to speak, thanks to the glymphatic system, which washes the brain of waste materials. For example, a protein called betaamyloid, which is known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's, acts as a neurotoxin when it builds up, killing neural cells in the brain. But a good sleep removes excess beta-amyloid and other waste materials, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
Because one of the common symptoms of Alzheimer's is disrupted sleep, it's unclear whether a lack of shut-eye should be considered part of the progression of the disease or a risk factor on its own, due to the buildup of beta-amyloids.
Nevertheless, poor sleep hastens your brain's aging process—much like sitting in the sun sans SPF speeds up your skin's aging process. And disturbed sleeping has been linked to all aspects of brain health, including an increased risk of depression and a decline in cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning. In one U.K. study out of University College London Medical School, middle-aged women who reported a drop in the average number of hours they slept had lower scores on cognitive tests involving reasoning and vocabulary.
What's more, our central clocks—a.k.a. our circadian rhythms—can drift from the patterns of our childhood, making it hard to get that much-needed rest. "As we age, our central clock is less sensitive to stimuli like light, food and physical activity," says Dr. Liu-Ambrose; this change makes it harder to fall, and stay, asleep. We can also become more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, which further disrupt those rhythms.
One way to combat these fluctuations is to try what seasoned travellers do for jet-lag recovery: Get exposure to real daylight and eat your meals on time to nudge your brain into a routine. And don't use bright screens at night, especially before bed, because they mimic sunlight and tell our circadian system that it's day, not night—and, therefore, not time to sleep. Those who need more help might consider light therapies that have been developed to treat seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. Liu-Ambrose.
The takeaway: Many researchers consider six to eight hours of sleep a night to be the standard sweet spot, though this can vary by individual. If you're routinely getting less than that and waking often in the night, not feeling refreshed in the morning and experiencing bouts of sleepiness during the day, talk to your doctor about sleep strategies—especially if you're experiencing anxiety or depression. In the short term, napping can reverse some of the effects of poor sleep, including memory loss and increased stress. And you only need a 30-minute catnap to feel the results.
This is your brain on a healthy diet There's no perfect "brain food," but eating a nutritious diet (lots of veggies and fruit, lean meat, fish and healthy fats) is the smartest way to maintain long-term brain function and memory, and to slow the development of brain diseases.
Getting enough of specific nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids is important but not the holy grail. University of Pittsburgh researchers recently found that people who eat broiled or baked fish at least once a week have larger brain volumes in the areas used for memory and cognition, despite varying levels of omega-3 in the fish they ate. Senior researcher James Becker concluded that he and his colleagues were "tapping into a more general set of lifestyle factors that were affecting brain health, of which diet is just one part."
In a 2015 study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, researchers looked at the broad set of eating habits of more than 900 people over 4 1/2 years and found that those who adhered to a diet high in fish, vegetables, nuts and berries, and low in fat and sugar, slowed down their brains' aging by about 7 1/2 years when compared to those with less-healthy diets. The healthy eaters cut their risk of Alzheimer's by up to 53 percent. And even when those people only adhered to the diet part time, they saw some benefits— an effect that has not been found in other diets, says Drogos.
The researchers dubbed the most promising cluster of these eating habits the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which blends the longevity-boosting Mediterranean diet and the heart-healthy low-fat DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet that doctors recommend to patients at risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. More studies need to be done on why it works, but in the meantime, there's no downside to eating healthier and ditching the junk.
The takeaway: Add more veggies to your diet. Research shows that older adults who report eating more of this food group perform better in mentally stimulating activities than those who don't.
Did you know? "Menopause brain" is a real thing. As with "pregnancy brain," its more famous counterpart, women approaching menopause really do experience memory problems and brain fog. Researchers think a drop in estrogen levels might be the cause.
Can you train your brain? Does firing up a brain-training app actually help improve your memory and ward off dementia? Sorry to disappoint, but right now, evidence for the benefits of computer-based brain games is weak, says Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an associate professor and Canada research chair at The University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal HealthResearch Institute. Brain games appear to help you learn to play them better, but research doesn't show that those tasks transfer to other aspects of brain performance. The same goes for crossword puzzles and sudoku, which help your vocabulary and math skills, but nothing more.
How to maintain your mental edge at any age
In your 30s: This is the time to make sure you establish healthy habits—such as getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and eating a good diet—that will affect your brain health throughout your adult years. "When it comes to maintaining brain health, the best time to start is yesterday," says Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a registered clinical psychologist, gerontologist and neuroscientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. If you feel you need a boost at work, consider old-fashioned writing instead of typing on your computer. A study in the journal Psychological Science found that university students who made handwritten notes were better equipped to recall conceptual ideas from their professors' lectures than those who had typed notes on their laptops.
In your 40s and 50s: People in this age group are part of the "sandwich generation," and often face caring for their aging parents on top of dealing with their other work, financial and parenting obligations. So, unsurprisingly, they're super stressed—and this can affect both mental health and day-to-day brain function. Dr. Khatri says it's essential to prioritize and edit out activities and commitments that increase stress without adding value to your productivity or happiness. That's because "maintaining mental health in early and mid life is key to safeguarding cognitive health later on," she says. "Untreated depression in midlife doubles your risk of developing dementia in later life."
In your 60s and beyond: In your senior years, socializing with friends and family, and picking up activities that allow you to connect, such as volunteering, are key to maintaining brain health. And sorry, keeping up with folks on Facebook isn't enough. "Ask yourself: Is social media rounding out my real-life social experiences?" suggests Dr. Khatri. What you need is face-to-face interaction.