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Turn up the heat on dementia

You’ve made it!

Another Christmas is in the books, and I hope yours was a merry one.

Now, it’s time to start planning for the next one.

No, I’m not asking you to keep the lights up all year long… buy next year’s gifts today… or get a super-early jump on your 2017 Christmas cards.

What I want is for you to plan to stick around – for next Christmas and many more – and I want you to be able to enjoy each and every one of them.

And today, I’ve got just the ticket!

New research backs a fun, safe and relaxing “medical treatment” that can protect your mind and memory as you age so you can stay sharp in the years ahead.

All you have to do is get a good sweat session in the sauna.

The catch is that you can’t just dip in once every now and again and hope to get the benefits. But if you’re already using a sauna regularly or are planning to take up the habit, frequent use packs some big-time protection.

And if you kick back and enjoy the heat for between four and seven times per week, your overall risk of dementia will plunge by 66 percent.

Even more amazingly, your risk of the worst form of the disease – Alzheimer’s – drops by 65 percent.

The benefits don’t end there, either. The study of more than 2,000 Finnish men also finds regular sauna use will cut your risk of heart problems, death from heart problems, and even death from all causes.

Can you think of a better… safer… easier… and more pleasurable way to boost your health?

Me neither!

It’s as if every deep, satisfying breath you take in that hot box fills your lungs with nature’s tonic – and that may not be far from the truth, as other studies show how sauna use helps open up the arteries to keep the blood flowing.

The only downside here is the obvious one: Not many of us have a sauna we can duck into anytime we want.

In some cases, the only option is to join a gym – and, depending on the fee, it may not be worth your while to pay up each month just for a schvitz.

If you’ve got the space and the cash, places like Costco now sell mini saunas for the home, and they’re not as expensive as you might think.

But your best and most economical bet is to call your local senior centers; one of them may have a sauna on site or have a deal with a local gym where you can use one for free or cheap.

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