I’ve been writing, yes. And this blog is supposed to be geared toward writing, yes again.
But good readers make good writers, and since I’ve been doing some heavy duty reading lately, I’m taking the time to share a little something about Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Keep Sharp.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Gupta’s book on keeping our brains aware and sharp. At first, I thought Yeah, yeah, I already know about amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain, but open to new information, I kept reading and am so glad I did. There was a wealth of recent research that I didn’t know, including more information on how the brain functions, changes, and responds throughout life. In addition, Dr. Gupta provides dozens of sites and references for the reader/listener.
The five pillars of brain health reminded me of truths that I knew to be valid and reinforced my diligence in attaining each. They’re crucial, all of them, and I’ve been preaching about their importance to friends and family for the last two weeks. I’m amazed at the responses, including, “I get plenty of sleep, but I don’t like to exercise,” or “I enjoy walking, but I don’t want to connect with people. I won’t even answer my phone most of the time.”
All pillars are important:
1) Exercise. Just move. Depending on age, physical condition, and interests, you might enjoy going to the gym while your friend prefers a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
2) Discover something new each day. This could be a fact, a skill……….just something you didn’t know before. Just be sure it’s something you’re interested in and/or have the aptitude for. My sister enjoys skimming calculus textbooks. Me, not so much. Not at all.
And about learning, you might consider taking up a new hobby, developing a talent, or getting crafty. Again, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Confession: I purchased a 1,000 piece puzzle of an Angela Harding print a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday, I finally took it out of the box. I think fear of failure is keeping me from picking up a piece of the purple flower; maybe I chose the wrong pursuit.
3) Eat right. There’s nothing I can write that you don’t already know, yet it bears repeating that fruits and vegetables reign supreme. Dr. Gupta recommends drinking a lot of water, too. And no caffeine after two in the afternoon.
4) Connect with others, even if it’s by phone, email, or snail mail. As an aside, today I listened to the beginning of Jordan Peterson’s new book, Beyond Order, in which he mentions the importance of others in the development of a persona.
5) Get sufficient sleep and rest (7-8 hours per night). This can be challenging.
For each pillar, Dr. Gupta provides plenty of facts to back up his claims. I thought of the many people who might be inclined to dismiss his advice. But then, I heard him quote Daniel Moynihan and chuckled: “You are entitled to your own opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Dr. Gupta, a neurosurgeon, has the facts AND the street creds. Presented in an easy-to-follow format, the author’s sound advice is based on research and experience.