My mother passed away in June 2022 after battling Alzheimer’s for almost four years. Her diagnosis made me realize that I had been neglecting my self-care.

I spoke to her neuropsychologist about my concerns, as my maternal grandmother had also suffered from late-onset Alzheimer’s. I asked if Alzheimer’s disease is genetic and if there was anything I could do to lower my risk.

The neuropsychologist explained that while there are no guarantees, there are lifestyle changes I can make. He emphasized the importance of diet, exercise, and sleep as keys to maintaining brain health. I mentioned that I run daily, and he encouraged me to continue.

He also advised me to avoid processed foods, prioritize sleep, read challenging books, and consider learning a new language. He didn’t promise these changes would prevent Alzheimer’s, but he stressed that it’s never too early to start taking better care of myself.

If you have a family history of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, or want to prioritize your health, I urge you to start making changes immediately.

During Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, when many parts of Houston were hit with over 51 inches of rain, I found an article on Runner’s World Magazine’s website about someone who had run one mile every day for 250 days. It inspired me to take up a running streak starting on August 29, 2017, and I haven’t missed a day since. On Christmas Day 2022, I challenged myself further and began running a daily 5K.

Please note that before embarking on a daily exercise routine, it’s essential to consult with your doctor, especially if you haven’t been physically active for a while.

Taking care of ourselves is our responsibility. When prioritizing our physical and mental well-being, we have more energy to be productive in other areas. I have yet to meet someone who isn’t physically or mentally well and also highly productive.

So don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, or January 1. Start taking care of yourself today. Your health and well-being deserve your attention now.