Our brain is not hardwired, its functions as well the rate at which our memory degrades, all of it can be manipulated or altered by keeping the brain flexible and fit. Just as physical agility and regular exercise keeps our overall health in check, mental agility is also extremely important to ward off age related mental ailments as well memory loss.
Experts believe that a range of activities can help keep your brain healthy. A new research published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, explains that people who participate in art and craft activities and socialize in middle and old age may delay the development of thinking and memory problems that often lead to dementia.
According to Rosebud Roberts of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, author of the study, "Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age," said
The study involved 256 people with an average age of 87 who were free of memory and thinking problems at the start of the study.
Participants reported their participation in -
Arts: Painting, drawing and sculpting
Crafts: Woodworking, pottery ceramics quilting, quilling and sewing
Socialactivities: Theatre, movies, concerts, socialising with friends
Computer activities: Surfing the internet, computer games, conducting web searches and online shopping.
After an average of four years, 121 people developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Participants who engaged in arts in both middle and old age were 73 per cent less likely to develop MCI than those who did not report engaging in artistic activities. Those who crafted in middle and old age were 45 per cent less likely to develop MCI and people who socialized in middle and old age were 55 per cent less likely to develop MCI compared to those who did not engage in like activities. Computer use in later life was associated with a 53 percent reduced risk of MCI.
The idea is pretty simple, the more you let your brain work, the healthier it gets and it performs better. Mental fitness involves a host of activities from analytical and problem solving to creative ones which could include participating in activities mentioned above or any sport, learning a new skill or language, reading, or even meeting new people.
Inputs from PTI