Brain-stimulating activities are important for brain health as you age
Bookworms, rejoice! A new study finds that reading, writing and performing brain-stimulating activities could preserve memory.
“Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person’s lifetime—from childhood through old age—is important for brain health in old age,” said study author Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The study tested memory and thinking in 294 people every year for about six years before their deaths (at an average age of 89). Participants also answered a survey about whether they read books, wrote and performed in other mentally stimulating activities at all ages of their lives.
After death, their brains were examined for signs of dementia. Those who participated regularly in brain-stimulating activities early and late in life had a slower rate of decline in memory compared to those who did not participate in such activities across their lifetime.
The study found that the rate of cognitive decline was reduced by 32 percent in people with frequent mental activity in late life, compared to people with average mental activity. And folks with infrequent mental activity suffered a rate of decline 48 percent faster than those with only average activity.
“We shouldn’t underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents,” Wilson said of the study’s results.
A separate study found that people who read for an hour each day can help stave off dementia and other cognitive decline.
In other words: Pick up a book.