Learning a new thing such as a language, an instrument, physical movement, and information will help keep your mind healthy, at certain times your body youthful, and undoubtedly your spirit engaged with life.
As the brain ages, a few things happen:
1. Parts of the brain shrink and your memory, learning capacity, and problem solving skills can diminish.
2. Your neurons and neurotransmitters may be reduced which can affect mood, memory, concentration, and even physical movement.
3. Brain blood flow can reduce, plaque may build, and inflammation can occur, as well as damage from free radicals.
It was once thought that we stop creating new neurons after a certain age. Scientists now confirm we do create new neurons all the time, but sadly, unless utilized — like with learning something new — they die. Unfortunately, learning who bit the dust on the latest Game of Throwns episode doesn’t count. You have to actually apply effort in your learning. You must have repeated “tries”, solve some problems, and do it over a certain period of time to increase the longevity of your new neurons.
Brain mass can be maintained and increased through exercise, nutrition, and meditation.
Keeping your brain size healthy helps maintain memory, aids in your ability to learn, and assists in retaining your problem solving skills. Studies have shown that exercise can prevent brain shrinkage especially in the hippocampus the seat of memory. Exercise staves off cognitive impairment and dementia. And we all know that exercise improves blood circulation bringing oxygen, nutrients, and the removal of waste in our body tissues and organs.
Consuming foods with Omega-3 fatty acids — the building block of neurons — may increase brain volume. Eating foods high in antioxidants will fight free radical damage. As well, meditation (is this really a suprise?) has been found to improve brain health and size.
“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School.
Learning a new sport or movement like salsa or Tai Chi will make you feel youthful because first, it’s like you’re playing — moving and having fun — and second, you get to be a student again with an adult perspective. So this time around, you see the value in what you’re learning. Of course moving more helps to maintain a healthy weight, it lubricates your joints preventing stiffness so you bend with ease, and you use your muscles helping to keep your muscle mass (something else you lose as you age). All these things contribute to you having an ageless mind and body.
Learning to play an instrument and speaking a different language can expose you to new music, people, and culture which can do wonders for your spirit. Your spirit is here to have a human experience — show her a good time! Enjoy learning something new, take yourself on an adventure, meet interesting people, and most of all participate in life!
At the ripe age of 42 I’m learning Kung Fu! I’m going on my 3rd month and it has already made an impact on my well-being. I know that my neurons are happy to learn the new technique, but more than that — I’m being active and doing something I’ve always wanted to do — move like crouching tiger and hidden dragon! (Hi-Ya!) My mom, in her beautiful wise age is learning how to play the piano. (She’s my hero.) And sisters, you know the ageless lifestyle motto — it’s never too late!
Is there something you always wanted to learn? Think about it. Then do it. 😉
Tweet it like you mean it!I will never stop learning. Click To Tweet
If you need encouragement and guidance sister, check out my life-coaching services.
Get in-depth with the sources:
Exercise and aging Mayo Clinic study: http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=799078
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for brain: http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2010/8/Omega-3-Fatty-Acids-Increase-Brain-Volume/Page-01
Meditation for brain health: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2006/02/meditation-found-to-increase-brain-size/