Keep busy to keep smart if you’re over 50

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brain_with_questions_1600_wht_9219Older people with busy lifestyles do better on cognitive tests than younger people according to scientists at the University of Texas who studied 330 people aged 50-89 years of age..

Everyday conversation frequently touches upon the busyness of daily schedules. People discuss their packed to-do lists and make inferences about the impact of their busy lifestyle on their health and mental function.”

Some research suggests that a hectic life could be good for you. “Busyness could be related to increased effortless engagement at work home and in leisure activities, which can have advantageous consequences on neural health and cognition

Other research implies the opposite. “Busyness could be related to increased levels of stress which can have negative consequences on the brain and cognitive function“.

Stress has been shown to narrow attention, impair working memory, interfere with knowledge acquisition,and degrade perceptual-motor performance. High stress even increased the risk of death.

The researchers asked people how busy they were, whether they were so busy that they went to bed later than planned etc. They also carried out cognitive tests and found that those with busy lives had significantly better mental abilities, particularly episodic memory.

So is it being busy that is keeping people mentally fit? James Flynn‘s latest research suggests that stimulating environments can improve your IQ and we know that learning new things is good for you.

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