As your brain ages, some of its pathways weaken from underuse. You might have a harder time recalling names, facts, addresses, or everyday details. To counteract these aging circuits, try learning new skills. Fresh information acts as a protein shake, forging new pathways and recoating those that are weak. Plus, with practice, these pathways get even stronger.
If learning calculus doesn’t get you dancing in your seat, the arts and humanities might have a better shot. By making new connections in a subject that interests you, you’ll have a greater chance of sticking with it. Music, language and art all have the potential to jump start learning, and each one comes with rewarding side effects. Playing an instrument has been shown to boost IQ, and if you’re a male you might have some positive gains in the dating world too. Learning a second language pays off in the long run “” bilingualism strengthens the brain against cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s and dementia. As for art’s benefits, more than 95% of people believe it builds intangible skills like creativity and individualism, and art also possesses stress-relieving powers as well. Whether learning notes, words, or the color wheel, your brain will benefit from the enjoyment of learning a new skill.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how lifelong learning can help you strengthen your brain, check out our resource section on lifelong learning.