September 25, 2017

Monday Thoughts: Brain Health

Brain Health

Four years ago this month my father passed away from Parkinson’s Syndrome. Watching him decline was so painful; he was a super interesting guy who loved to be active, but also loved the arts. My dad got so much joy from painting, but unfortunately he stopped engaging in art-making a long time before he got sick. I personally think his decline was partially driven through lack of stimuli, poor diet and not having activities to drive his mental growth.

There is a lot of new science and research today that focuses on brain health and this topic is really beginning to move to the forefront of our consciousness as the baby boom generation ages. My research suggests that poor nutrition (sugar and processed foods), lack of exercise and limited engagement in creative tasks help to promote Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Of course, underlying genetics plays into this, but if you have high cholesterol and put the right plan in place you are likely to live a longer and healthier life. So how do we tackle our brain health? In 2014, Lawrence Katz wrote a book called “Keep Your Brain Alive.” In the book, he clarified the underlying roots in mental decline that were largely due to the loss of communication between brain cells, not from the death of brain cells themselves. Simple exercises including doing creative things stimulate natural growth factors in the brain and promote the communication between brain cells.

I can talk for days about the value of making art…making music…building something…cooking something. The things that stimulate learning and connect your emotional sensory system are likely to help you also reduce stress, feel less anxious and feed the right chemicals to your brain.

Every day I think about how One River helps people to lead a healthier and happier life. This is why I do what I do.

Matt Ross

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