We’ve got only one brain. Hence, we better take good care of it. There is only a small community in Wales that has got more than one brain, they have got brains. For all others we should like to know what we can do to keep our brain healthy for as long as possible. Scientists try their best to find out for decades. The state of the art is well documented in a study published in The Lancet which followed 64 so-called superagers in the study and 55 in the control group. These superagers are 80 years old persons that have annual brain fitness tests and brain scans (MRIs) that show their brain has a functionality of a person 20+ years younger. Anxiety scores and depression levels seem to be major explanatory factors for reduced grey matter and decline in functionality of the brain in aging. Fewer glucose disorders and hypertension contribute to successful aging of the brain. An active lifestyle and any form of practicing music make you also more likely to be in the group of superagers. Motor control, balance and speed are important to take into account additionally. A good solution to successful aging is “singing in the rain” I would say. In terms of prevention of “brain loss” it seems important to highlight both the pure brain functionality and the importance of exercise to keep sufficient motor control. Get up and walk! That is the answer. Yes. Again. Trying to do it fast is a good way to preserve not only your body but also your brain.
Walking after work is a kind of medicine. Blood pressure calms down about 30 minutes after the walk. Light exposure contributes to higher melatonin levels, which lets us sleep better. Oxygene and humidity purify the office and street dust we inhale during the day. It is largely free of charge for everybody and just needs some appropriate clothing. A rainbow is nice to admire, but it does come with some rain somewhere between the sun, you and the rainbow. The oak trees are admirable kind of trees. In spring they appear like sculptures with numerous branches out of branches. The big one on the photo below has a diameter of 125 cm, pretty senior to the others around. A flowery finish complements the walk after work in spring. As variant of the folk saying, I would suggest: Visiting your favourite tree every day keeps the doctor away. Of course I like my doctor, too.
Pressure or stress, in most humans, contributes to higher blood pressure. Sources for pressure are manifold and that is the basic problem. As it is hard to identify the major sources of high blood pressure, we often use a summary term “life style” in order to avoid shaming particular substances, (tabaco, red meat, alcohol to name just a few). Among life style elements is the daily rush to work and back home or bringing children to school and home again. Work itself is a major contributor as well. Leisure activities are not free of pressure in order to perform at a person’s best. As in many health topics, the balance does the trick. This is common knowledge beyond the Asian world as in their health philosophy of Yin and Yang. The Western world is proud to have the best and highest availability of medical treatment and hospitals for their populations, accepting some inequality in access nevertheless. For countries with less means for curative practices they have no choice and have to focus on preventive strategies (Lancet Study Link). Rural China, therefore, is a good case to study access and willingness to apply western medical type treatment of high blood pressure is too expensive and just not available in sufficient numbers. The good news is, with a preventive programme based on nurses rather than medical doctors the prevention of high blood pressure works reasonably well. Community health workers are therefore a cost-effective alternative in reducing blood pressure. Sitting is the new smoking, and driving around in a car rather than walking or cycling are health risks, even if the car or the chair is a very nice one.