“Use it or Lose it”

posted by – 09/19/12 @ 2:28pm

We’ve blogged before about the sense of exhilaration that buying a piece of art can provide, but what about the health benefits of just sheer creativity? Long-term, challenging tasks such as playing a musical instrument or learning a second language may be able to prevent a decline in brain function according to a recent study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, while the Journal of Aging and Health reports that creativity “serving as an indication of openness, the willingness to try new things and accept new ideas”  may have led to a 12% decrease in mortality risk in a study of older male veterans. Just as we’re told to eat well and stay physically fit, being open minded and constantly engaging our imagination seems to be just as important in the process of aging. A new special “Arts and the Mind” airing this fall on PBS extols the values of art programs for children and older adults, and suggests that physical and creative activities like dance may even be able to ward of diseases like dementia. So, next time on a Saturday afternoon when you’re looking for something to do, maybe try something like Paint Along Nashville which provides the material and instruction to create a 16 X 20 canvas painting (they even have BYOB classes once a week…),  or harken back to your childhood and try Brushfire Pottery studio, where you pick out a piece of pottery and paint it however you like. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you could even try picking up a new language this fall at the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute or the Alliance Française.

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