Ballroom Dance Your Way to Better Brain Health

Food and Healthcare Press Releases Thursday April 24, 2014 16:52
Bangkok--24 Apr--Grayling (Thailand)
Take up ballroom dancing if you want to improve your memory and mental sharpness.
That advice comes from Dr. Terry Grossman, International Medical Director, Vitallife Wellness Center, Bumrungrad International Hospital.

“Whatever the style - a waltz, tango, rumba or salsa - ballroom dancing is one of the best ways to exercise the brain,and boost its capabilities because it involves understanding new moves, listening, decision-making, and intense focus” said Dr. Grossman.

Learning a new language is another great way to exercise the brain. Dr. Grossman in fact, endorses any learning activity in work, or hobbies such as reading, playing sport, exercising, doing crosswords, playing video games, playing a musical instrument and more.

Use it or lose it

Why is brain health important? Dr. Grossman says the brain (like the heart) is the body’s powerhouse comprising 100 billion neurons (thinking cells) and one trillion synapses (connectors). And while it only makes up 2% of body weight, the brain uses 20% of blood flow, oxygen and glucose.

Like other important body organs, ‘use or lose it’ applies to the brain - it needs exercise to grow new cells and connectors to enhance sharpness and memory. Exercising the brain throughout life will also help ward off memory loss and Alzheimer’s and dementia type diseases, in later years.

Reduce stress
Reducing stress is another important factor in maintaining a good memory.

As people age, many have memory lapses – such as forgetting a person’s name or where they left house or car keys. Dr. Grossman said in most cases, a memory blank is caused by stress rather than a physical disease or ailment.

He added, “Stress is the number one memory killer. It’s important to note however, there is good stress and bad stress, and everyone should try to maintain their right balance.”
Sleep and eat better
Common stress reducing activities include yoga, massage, exercising, taichi, listening to music and most important of all, getting a good night’s sleep.

When people are over tired, the body becomes stressed and increases blood pressure. Dr. Grossman says listening to soft music, and taking a warm bath, are good ways to prepare for sleep. Not recommended is looking at a smartphone or computer screen before bedtime - blue light emitted by devices can disrupt sleep as humans are not used to seeing this colour at night.

Brain health is also enhanced by a nutritious, balanced diet. Recommended foods include fish, fresh vegetables, and fruits – also ok, is a glass of wine per day. Natural supplements such as gingko biloba and vinpocetinecan alsoimprovemental sharpness.

Sugary fruits and deep fried foods should be avoided as they raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, commonly referred to as ‘diabetes of the brain.’
In the future, Dr. Grossman said the widespread use of smartphones, and tablet computers could significantly change the way we use our brains.

“Technology will be a major influence on how we use our brains and may enable us to process more information. In addition, research and development of an electronic brain in the future will significantly change the treatment of brain related diseases and ailments.”

Vitallife today, offers tests to assess cognitive ability based primarily on ADLs – activities of daily living.

“If a relative, partner, or friend, is unable to perform tasks such as driving, balancing a check book, dress, cook, or other routine activities, they should take an ADL test to see if a cognitive treatment is required,” said Dr. Grossman.

Good health – physical and mental - is a major factor in determining a good quality of life. For more information about cognitive health, and tests offered by the Vitallife Wellness Center at Bumrungrad Hospital, please call 02-667-2340.

For more information please contact
Pitchapa Ratchanan or Susiri Susangkarakan
Grayling (Thailand) Tel02-635-7151-2Fax02-635-7155
E-mail: pitchapa@grayling.com and susiri@grayling.com

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