Scientific evidence has come to the obvious conclusion of the link between cognitive activity and aging.
During the month of March this year, a select group of experts convened to discuss the scientific evidence regarding cognitive activity as aging. They evaluated how life-style affects differently, with the objective to provide recommendations to be including in our day-to-day lives.
Their studies ended in a recent thesis reporting an invaluable asset for the scientific field but also of great worth for the general community.
In this meeting, they studied preventable and modifiable factors and strategies that could lower the risk of cogitative decline. It was determined that intellectual stimulation, healthy diet, physical activity and an active social life were identified as potential factors for middle-aged people to have cognitive reserve during their adult years.
It is vital that we control our blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. Also we need to take folic acid, vitamin B12 and keep a healthy weight, plus not smoking.
Many factors are out of our control such as age, genetic predisposition, even so there are many strategies that can prevent cognitive decline.
Future investigations will provide more light on the risk factors and provide more specific strategies in maintaining cogitative capabilities. As of today, we know what we do now directly affects our cognitive decline risks in the future.
The desire to keep mental acuity is a common concern among many older adults. By looking for stimulating activities for the brain, it can be a powerful way to positively affect our brains health as we age.
Based on the scientific discoveries, here are the following conclusions:
– Individuals can change the way their brain functions as they age.
– People can improve their memory, attention span and reasoning abilities by doing challenging and stimulating brain activities.
-By training a certain cognitive ability, it can help improve this ability such as the memory. But evidence shows that it is necessary to continue applying this training method, in order to maintain and improve this ability.
-There is not enough evidence to prove that “mind or brain games” will improve the general function of your brain in day-to-day functions. These games can be fun and interesting, but the promises and benefits made by the companies that sell them are greatly exaggerated.
– To keep healthy brains, choose activities that are new, highly attractive, stimulating, mentally challenging and enjoyable.
– There is sufficient proof that stimulating cognitive activities are beneficial in keeping mentally alert.
– There are many ways to improve your cognitive functions (for example: memory, reasoning abilities and concentration), such as participating in formal and informal educational activities, learning a new language, doing different tasks or recreation that can be mentally challenging and trying to be socially connected to others.
Here are some more practical suggestions:
On the other hand, it is recommended that individuals look for new ways of stimulating their brains and challenging their way of thinking (example: learning new hobbies, taking a photography class and investigating their family history).
Also it is important to take part in stimulating mental activities that require social commitment and provides a purpose in life (such as volunteering, being a mentor for someone in your community).
However, individuals should consider physical activity (such as tennis or dance) that requires some sort of mental concentration while doing the physical activity. Following this line of thought, it is also important to choose activities that can be enjoyed and learned with someone who enjoys learning new things. Look for a friend who can help you do this. When choosing activities, make sure the schedules are easy for both of you to meet.
Another part of the thesis spoke about certain myths about our brain as we age, saying that it is possible for older people to learn new things and activities. They are not condemned to forgetting everything they learn, old age does not mean going senile.