If you've been reading, writing and doing other mentally stimulating activities, give yourself a pat on the back. A study published by the Neurology journal showed that more frequent cognitive activity across the life span has an association with slower late-life cognitive decline.
Those that reported the most reading and writing later in life were able to slow their memory decline by 32% compared to people with average mental activity.
Those who reported the lowest mental stimulation in their later years had a 48 % faster memory decline compared to the average.
Keep doing it.
Now you may be wondering what other activities you can do to keep your mind active and healthy. You can do a lot.Exercise. You may want to go for a walk or a swim today. Many studies have shown the impact of exercise on memory.
Among other things, exercise increases the levels of neurotropic factor (B.D.N.F) in your bloodstream. This chemical has an effect on the connections among neurons and sparks neurogenesis. Exercise does not need to be exhausting to be effective. Studies have shown that walking briskly is associated with larger hippocampi after doing it for a year. (The hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with emotions and long-term memory).
Exercise can also boost your creativity. You can read my post on this.
Even weight training has a positive impact on memory. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Research women aged 70-80 with mild cognitive impairment improved their memory. In this six month study the women were divided in three groups. One did supervised aerobic exercises; a second group did resistance training twice a week and the control group only focused on balance and tone.
The volunteers had to complete a battery of tests designed to study their verbal and spatial memory before the six month period of supervised exercises and once the period was over.
The study showed that both spatial and verbal memory improved in the aerobic and the resistance training groups.
Meditation also has some benefits according to different studies, but I'd like to write on this on a future post.
It's time to exercise.