A recent study suggests doing this could help keep your mind sharp as you get older.
Everybody wants to keep their wits about them as they age, but Sudoku and crossword puzzles may not be the best way to do it. According to U.S. News & World Report, a recent study suggests that keeping a busy schedule could offer more benefits to the brain than other “stay-sharp” methods.
Scientists showed that older adults with a full schedule performed better on memory, information processing and reasoning tests. While keeping busy doesn’t necessarily make us smarter, scientists say, it could help prevent some of the mental fuzziness that develops with age.
According to the study’s lead author, Sara Festini, a researcher at the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas, keeping busy by learning new skills can help a person stay mentally acute as time goes on. “We think it is likely that being busy is good for your cognition,” she said.
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Researchers say the findings agree with previous similar studies that sought to test the effects of a busy schedule on an aging mind.
Research generally shows that aging adults that stay mentally, physically and socially active have a lower risk of dementia and a better overall mental function. The recent study, which examined 330 men and women between the ages of 50 and 89 years, had consistent results with the latest research in the field. Researchers asked participants to rate their perceived level of “busyness” with questions that gauged how often a person failed to finish everything on their to-do list each day.
The results showed that the busier people seemed to be with their daily lives, the higher their mental performance scores were. “This study provides further motivation to seek out additional activities and to keep learning new skills throughout adulthood,” said Festini.
A news release describing the details of the study can be found here.