Beauty and brains. These are two attributes that people often claim are exclusive. The gorgeous one isn’t that smart, and the nerdy one doesn’t look that great.
But we beg to differ. For a long time, we know that the lack of sleep doesn’t just mean poor concentration, but also have an effect on our skin. Being on top of your game is also an attractive attribute to embrace.
To understand more about brain fitness, we spoke with Dr. Philip Tsang, a neuroscientist who specialises in brain-related research. He is also the chief scientist at Brand’s Health Science Centre.
Daily Vanity (DV): A Chinese saying goes “Physical appearance is derived from what’s the mind”. Is there any truth in it?
Dr. Philip Tsang (PT): Beauty usually refers more to physical traits of beauty, but more and more women are starting to look at a more holistic way of understanding “beauty”. Coming into play are factors such as physical wellness, confidence and self-esteem – which are seen as the key to true beauty.
DV: Are there ways to improve intellect or brain fitness?
PT: To maintain peak cognitive performance, it is first important to have a good and healthy lifestyle that provides us with a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and exercises. This can help to maintain a healthy brain that can perform properly.
Besides, maintaining a mentally-active lifestyle is important as it engages our brain to actively acquire and integrate new information from our environment. This is the principle of “use it or lose it”. As we learn, we not only increase in our knowledge, our brain is also changing its very structure and increasing its capacity to learn.
Unlike the computer, the brain is constantly adapting itself. The more actively we engage our brain in various cognitive activities (e.g. being active at work, participating and socializing in leisure time), the more efficient our brain will become so that we can learn and perceive with greater precision, speed, and retention of information.
On the other hand, some environmental factors such as chronic stress have negative effects on cognitive performance and can limit the brain from functioning at its optimal condition.
DV: Are there any “brain exercises” we could do to improve our brain strength?
PT: Our brain is involved virtually in all kinds of activities in our life including logical thinking, movements, emotions, normal homoeostatic functions that control our body temperature, hunger, etc. Therefore, it is not possible to design a particular set of “brain exercises” that helps us to improve our “brain strength” specifically. To maintain peak cognitive performance, it is first important to have a good and healthy lifestyle that provides us with a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and exercises. This can help to maintain a healthy brain that can perform properly.