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Healthy Aging | 05/25/21
The saying, “use it or lose it” doesn’t only apply to keeping physically active as you age. You’ve got to exercise your brain as well. More seniors are discovering the benefits of lifelong learning to stay sharp. Lifelong learning isn’t a magical concept. It’s simply the idea of continuing to pursue knowledge and stay curious about new things long after you’re out of your formal school years.
Those pursuits could mean anything from learning a new skill or language to delving into new ideas or studies. The goal is engagement, mental stimulation, and discovery as you explore new ways to enhance your personal and spiritual self. Curiosity is one of the healthiest habits to exercise as you age. In other words, the challenge of learning new things isn’t just fun. There are cognitive benefits from continued learning as you get older, and it’s also beneficial for your physical and emotional health.
Numerous studies have shown that lifelong learning for seniors is directly related to improved brain health. One study clearly showed learning a new skill or hobby, such as operating a computer or learning to play an instrument, resulting in a lasting increase in memory skills. The reason? Every time you learn something new, fresh neural networks are created in your brain. It’s like adding logs to a fire to keep it burning bright.
For those concerned about Alzheimer’s disease, keeping the brain stimulated and active is even more important. Another senior study found that seniors who frequently read, play mentally challenging games like chess, or engage in other intellectually stimulating activities are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, a devastating, mind-stealing disease that currently affects 5.7 million Americans.
Curious about water aerobics? Jump right in. Learning proper form or following directions to perfect a movement are great for engaging your brain. But exercising in the water also supplies nice physical benefits such as increased flexibility, decreased muscle tension, and improved heart health. Focusing on learning a new exercise also creates a more educated brain – and one Harvard-Princeton study concluded that the more educated a person is, the lower their rates of anxiety and depression and can also protect against high cholesterol, diabetes, and more.
Typically, the pursuit of lifelong learning for seniors is done in group settings. In fact, that’s one of the wonderful benefits of living in a retirement community like Meadow Lakes. As a resident, you’ll never be short on activities to explore, because our schedule is packed with new things to try (a little or a lot, depending on your mood). After all, that’s what living your best life is all about!
Whether you’re learning a new card game or working on your coordination in a ballroom dance class, you’ll have the added benefit of strengthening social connections and making new friends. It’s a win-win for your psyche, not to mention a confidence and self-esteem builder. And it’s no surprise that adding a little more smile and positivity into your daily life motivates you to go out there and find more of what makes you feel happy.
As a Life Plan Community, Meadow Lakes understands even more the mental and physical benefits of lifelong learning, and we make every effort to offer numerous opportunities for our residents to check off items on their “would-love-to-try” list. From museum outings and fascinating group discussions with guest speakers to taking continuing education courses at nearby schools – including Princeton University and Mercer County Community College – a move to Meadow Lakes is a wonderful way to live your best retirement life. To learn more about living here, simply complete our schedule a visit form, and one of our sales counselors will be in touch shortly. We look forward to speaking with you!