Healthy mind is good health
I wrote Good health is good strategy last year and thought more about health topic. Good physical health without good mind is not good enough. So I wanted to learn more about ways to keep my mind healthy for as long as I can.
That led me to a book by Dr. Sanjay Gupta - a neurosurgeon, chief medical correspondent for CNN, host of TV documentary series, and author. The book title is “Keep Sharp”.
Although Dr. Gupta's writing style is light and engaging, the book is not exactly light reading. He pored over a lot of research papers, talked to many experts, and distilled key lessons for the readers. Actionable lessons!
If you decide to buy the book, don't let the difficult parts stop you. Keep reading until you reach the actionable lessons and pay attention to those.
I want to quote a few things and comment on them.
“Five pillars of brain health: Move, Discover, Relax, Nourish, Connect.” (Dr. Sanjay Gupta)
Reaching a sustainable exercise routine took me years to get to a good state. I know this from firsthand experience. So to fix all five pillars will take time and a lot of effort.
On the subject of food / “nourish”, Dr. Gupta mentioned: "A heart-healthy diet is a brain-healthy diet." So whatever I consume for good heart health, may help with my mind health. It's like hitting two birds with one stone. Nice.
He wrote a lot about each of the five pillars (not just nourish), but one comment that left an impression is this.
"When people ask me what's the single most important thing they can do to enhance their brain's function and resiliency to disease, I answer with one word: exercise - as in move more and keep a regular physical fitness routine." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta)
Do all five pillars. That’s the best. But if I have to prioritise, I guess I would prioritise exercise.
One lesson that came unexpected is this one.
"Among people who are eighty-five years old, an age at which more than 30 percent have developed dementia, signs of brain decline began silently when they were between fifty-five and sixty-five years old.
Similarly, the brain health of the 10 percent or so of people who are sixty-five years old and have developed dementia started to quietly degenerate when they were between thirty-five and forty-five years old." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta)
So roughly twenty to thirty years in advance is a good time to start implementing the five pillars. That is a lot earlier than what I assumed before I read the book!
And old habits die hard. It's not like there is a switch that I can flick to turn on and execute all those five pillars well from one day to the next.
Some pillars might be easier than the others, but all five will be hard. This means that the earlier I start, the better positioned I will be.
Achieving and maintaining good health should start long before retirement - just like saving money for retirement.
But the most important thing is to start and work on it. No excuses! And one more quote.
"Progress is better than perfection." (Dr. Sanjay Gupta)
Have a great day.
Disclaimer: Anything I share is not intended as financial advice; I am merely sharing personal opinions and experiences. The information is of general nature and you should only use it as a place to start your own research and you certainly should do your own due diligence. You ought to seek professional financial advice before making any decisions.