Aging Gracefully Has New Meaning: Maria Shriver Shares 7 Ways To Thrive With Age

shutterstock_328982147Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins/

Maria Shriver wants you to get a move on—not physically, but mentally. The former First Lady of California (her ex-husband is former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger; she is also the niece of former president John F. Kennedy, Jr.) is the founder of the Alzheimer’s Movement, a global alliance of individuals, organizations, researchers, foundations, influencers and industry leaders committed to finding out why Alzheimer’s discriminates against women. We caught up with Shriver after she hosted the “It’s About Our Brains” panel at the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s L.A. offices, where she and a team of female experts kicked off the 2018 “Move for Minds” campaign, which kicks off in June and celebrates an empowering initiative that informs and inspires people across the globe to make their cognitive health a priority.

Given the cerebral subject matter, we couldn’t resist asking Shriver to divulge her favorite tips for leading a brain-healthy life—shared with her by some of today’s leading Alzheimer’s researchers and wellness experts. Here, she shares seven ways to not only age gracefully, but to thrive with age.


1. Exercise, exercise, exercise. If you want to begin taking care of your brain today, start here. Studies have proven that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, releases hormones that make you feel good, and stimulates growth factor to help create new neurons and synapses in your brain. Research shows it’s the combination of aerobic exercise and weight/resistance training that will benefit you the most.

2. Eat a brain-healthy diet. Research shows that it improves every aspect of your health to switch out old- fashioned meat and potatoes for the healthier Mediterranean and MIND diets. That means less red meat and bad fats and loads more fruits and vegetables, avocados, fish, legumes, beans, whole grains and healthy fats, like olive oil, seeds and nuts. Also, be sure to hydrate regularly by drinking water throughout the day.

3. Practice mindful meditation. Meditation is both a stress management and brain-boosting tool. Research shows even a few minutes a day lowers stress, inflammation and depression—and improves memory, mood and even your genes!

4. Rest your busy mind. Sleep is essential in the formation of memories and also in cleaning out amyloid deposits that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Your brain needs 7 to 9 hours a night, so don’t cheat yourself of sleep’s many therapeutic benefits.

5. Love your friends and family. Research shows that social isolation is dangerous to your health—and that people who stay connected and have regular social interaction with friends and family maintain brain vitality.

6. Challenge your brain. Research indicates that mental activity offers benefits to brain health. Learn something new to create new neural connections. Study an unfamiliar language or take up an instrument.

7. Get a cognitive baseline. It’s important to identify early in life whether your cognitive health is declining. So talk to your doctor about getting a cognitive test as a regular part of your check-up.

Maria Shriver hosts a panel at the Alzheimer's Movement offices to launch the 2018 Move for Minds campaign
Maria Shriver hosts a panel at the Alzheimer’s Movement offices to launch the 2018 Move for Minds campaign

Photo Credit: Joe Miller