by: Melanie Farley

A new study suggests that a college degree is one of the biggest indicators of cognitive abilities in later years. The study found that people who have a college degree tend to stay mentally sharper as they age. Don’t worry, though. Earning a degree in your 20s isn’t the only way to stay sharp as you age.

Keep reading for our 3 tips to prevent cognitive decline associated with aging.

Learn New Skills

A college degree might not be right for everyone, but lifelong learning is accessible for all, especially in the age of the internet. Learning a new skill will pay off in the long run as well. Since studies have shown that learning new skills will improve memory and strengthen the connection between different parts of the brain.

New skills work the best for slowing cognitive decline because they challenge your brain. Skills you’ve already mastered will not have the same effect. So, consider learning to speak a new language, learning to knit, or any other activity that is mentally challenging.

Stay Connected

Social relationships sustain life, but new research also suggests that maintaining friendships can also prevent cognitive decline and even stall its progression. Social behavior activates the same areas of the brain as thinking and memory. So, the stronger your social connections, the stronger your brain’s neural networks will be as well.

So, join a club and maintain your close social connections. Your brain will thank you!

Stay Active

There is some evidence to suggest that physical activity in later years can help slow cognitive decline as well. Initial studies have found that seniors over 70 who were physically active experienced less brain shrinkage over 3 years than their sedentary counterparts.

Don’t worry, physical activity doesn’t just include running or sports. Light physical activity such as walking, cooking, cleaning, or gardening are just as effective.

A Final Word…

To prevent cognitive decline associated with aging, it is important to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health. So, keep learning new skills, making new friends, and living an active lifestyle as you age. Your brain will thank you!

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