Do you enjoy doing puzzles, going to museums, participating in games and arts and crafts? You may be doing something good for your brain while you’re having a good time! Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have found that older adults who enjoy puzzles and crossword puzzles and other mentally engaging pastimes scored higher on standard tests for mental sharpness, while they were no less likely to show signs of mental decline over time than other older adults. These older adults who were involved in mentally stimulating activities declined, but from a higher stand point, known as ‘cognitive reserve’.
Roger Staff, the lead researcher at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland says: “The results indicate that a lifetime of engagement lifts you to a point from which you decline, and that can be considered as passive cognitive reserve. Starting from a high point will mean that the threshold at which you are considered impaired will be farther into the future.”
In another study that was published in the BMJ Journal which followed 500 British adults who had, starting in the 1940’s, taken identical intelligence tests. At the age of 64 they were all asked to answer questions about whether or not they engaged in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, games, and puzzles, and they also took memory and thinking tests over the next 15 years. The results were very interesting, to say the least. While they all showed mental decline, those that participated in more mentally stimulating activities such as puzzles actually did better on the memory and thinking tests.
Does this mean that participating in mentally stimulating activities boosts your brain power? More research needs to be done, but it does appear that it is certainly a benefit in the long run.
Try these mentally stimulating activities.
What are some of your favorite activities? Do you feel they have helped keep your mind active?
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