Use it — in some way, every single day — or you’ll lose it. That’s the mantra to live by where most matters of your health are concerned.
It’s also something that I can’t stress enough with my patients who want to keep their brains active and healthy. Exercise daily, and with consistency, and you’ll always win.
But when I say exercise, I don’t just mean physical activity. (Though there’s no question that regular workouts, even ones as simple as a daily walk, are critical for warding off cognitive decline.)
According to new research, staying “fit” with intellectual activities — like reading or card games — could delay dementia, too. Even if you waited until retirement to start.
Reading is fundamental
This research, conducted in Hong Kong, looked at more than 15,000 subjects, all aged 65 years and older, for up to seven years.
Almost all of them reported some kind of leisure activity every day. But there was a far greater variety of activities among those who remained free of dementia. And this population also engaged in more intellectual activities, by a substantial margin.
For this study’s purposes, “intellectual activities” included reading (whether books, newspapers, or magazines), playing board games or card games, Mahjong (a tile-based game similar to dominoes, developed in China), or horse racing.
“Social activities,” meanwhile, included joining social centers, volunteering, meeting up with friends and family, or religious meetings. And “other recreational activities” referred to television, radio, shopping, etc.
Subjects who went on to develop dementia were more likely to be older. They were also mostly female, with less education, and a higher rate of physical or mental illness.
But the real take home from this research was that subjects who engaged in “intellectual” activities — as opposed to more recreational or social activities — made up a significantly greater proportion of the cognitively stable group.
Staying social simply isn’t enough
Obviously, it’s important to note that people who stay busy with intellectual activities also typically do other healthy things — like exercise, eat right, and avoid smoking. And that was certainly the case in this study.
But it’s also worth pointing out that, in this study, “intellectual” activities featured social and recreational components as well. And that’s a crucial observation, in my opinion. Because it points to the specific intellectual aspects of any given hobby as the real brain-savers.
Personally, I’ve never suffered from a lack of intellectual curiosity. My passion for learning has always guided my day-to-day, and it’s something I work to nurture in my patients as well. Not least of all because I have seen first-hand the sort of dramatic cognitive improvements that can occur with a commitment to regular brain “exercises.”
So if you do nothing else, I challenge you to at least read my Reality Health Check e-letter each and every day, as your own personal “intellectual activity.” But if you want to do more, and you’re ready to work for real and lasting results, I urge you to check out my Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. To learn more about this all-natural plan to protect and restore memory, strengthen focus, and build a bigger, brighter brain, click here, or enroll today.