As you age, your body will naturally get older with it – but your brain doesn’t have to.
The best way to keep your brain sharp as you get older is to keep busy, says a new study. This advice is slightly different than what scientists previously believed, which was to engage in mentally challenging exercises for a youthful brain.
The new study suggests a packed schedule offers similar benefits.
The survey involved over 300 people in the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study. The study’s authors found people over the age of 50 who were busy were more efficient in brain processing, had improved memory, sharper reasoning and better vocabulary.
Everyone in the study’s age ranged from 50-89, and the results were consistent across all ages. The research concluded the importance of a busy lifestyle is key through middle age through old age.
Staying busy possibly improves the ability to learn; a full schedule provides more opportunity experience different situations, people, and information on a daily basis. But at the same time, people with sharper brains are more likely to be busier to feed the mind.
“We certainly considered that being very busy could hurt cognition,” says study author Denise Park, director of research at The University of Texas at Dallas.
“Basically, the data suggest that the benefits of busyness outweigh the downside.”
Park plans to continue the research, determining the factors that improve or hamper cognition later in life.