Scientists and researchers decided to implement this common knowledge and conducted a six week long study involving more than 2,800 seniors, consisting of both men and women aged 65 and up. In this study, sessions lasted about 10 hours long and mainly focused on essential skills such as memory, reasoning and faster thought processing. At its conclusion, they found that each participant experienced a significant improvement both mentally and emotionally for at least 5 years, which is pretty impressive.
Although studying or other measures cannot totally prevent dementia, this study and many others have shown great promise that studying can indeed reduce the risk of dementia and slow down its progression. Listed below are some of the areas that you can study to help reduce your risk or slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Learning how to speak a new language can be a lot of fun, and it is also directly linked with new brain cell growth, nerve repair and improved cognitive ability. Whether it’s Japanese, Italian or Russian, it doesn’t really matter which language you choose to practice, as long as you enjoy it and have the time and patience required to learn it.
There are many ways in which you can achieve this. If you prefer to learn alone at your own pace for free or for a very small fee, there are many apps that you can try, such as Babbel, Speakly, Memrise and more. If you’re more interested in a social setting that’s more challenging and stimulating, you can search for a local in person class that you can join.
When you listen to music, go to a concert or stop to listen to buskers performing in the city streets, do you suddenly notice some improvement in your ability to remember, to make logical decisions and in your overall mood? It’s not rocket science – in many ways, music has an almost magical power to positively influence and affect how we think and feel in our day to day lives.
Similar to the effect of learning languages, Neurologists have found that music we enjoy listening to stimulates the release of endorphins/feel good hormones, such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These chemicals enhance your brain power and can make it easier to learn new things, feel relaxed and de-stress, retain more information and remain focused.
So by all means, go ahead and buy a musical instrument that grabs your interest- a guitar, a piano, a set of drums, whichever suits your fancy. And just like languages, you can also find many apps, teachers and classes to help you master your new instrument in a reasonable length of time.
Playing games is another fantastic way to learn, stimulate and strengthen your mind in every way. And the more fun and challenging they are, the better.
If you’re more introverted, try playing video games on your pc or on a gaming console that you’ve never played before, play solitaire, crosswords, word search or sudoku.
If your more of the extrovert or ambivert type, invite some friends and family over or go to their house and have a day or evening filled with games such as mad libs, twister, trivia, memory, board games, card games, guessing games, complex puzzles, bingo, sudoku, connect four, singing and dancing competitions, etc.
To make it even more fun and challenging, you can make up your own rules or make changes to already existing rules, and see how much you can remember on your own without needing to write it down. This will train your mind to be more adaptable and flexible in its thought processing and improve on how much you can remember at a time.
Are you afraid of incredible heights? Do you get stressed and forget things easily? Perhaps stage fright, a fear of driving or social anxiety has stopped you from pursuing some of your dreams or goals? If so, then practicing various yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques in your spare time can be very helpful in overcoming these fears which prevent you from living to the fullest. Once you do overcome them, you’ll get a tremendous boost of confidence and your mental health will improve significantly.
This is because failing mental health and an unstimulating environment/lifestyle are some of the contributing factors to the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s, so anything you can do to keep depression, stress and anxiety to a minimum is always a good idea.
If you have a passionate love for something in particular, let’s say animals and nature, you can further your education and expand your mind by taking a course in biology, ecology or wildlife conservation.
If you’re into cars, you can learn about car mechanics, design and how the engine works.
Or if you’re fascinated with a type of art, you can take up an art class and create beautiful works of art.
Whatever it may be, learning more about a strong interest will keep your mind sharp, functioning and shining bright.