A Guide For Making The Most Of Old Age
Exercise, both physical and mental, has beneficial effects on people as they grow older.
Adopting healthful habits can significantly alter the course of aging, even if you don’t start until you are middle-aged or older, growing research suggests.
As more people live into their 80s, 90s and beyond, researchers are increasingly asking what it takes not just to survive but also to thrive in later years. Here is Consumer Reports’ guide to successful aging.
Exercise your brain.
Your brain needs a workout just as much as your arms and legs. Education and an active work life when you are younger can help ward off dementia later, perhaps by building a cognitive reserve so that small losses in function are not as noticeable. It may be equally important to stay mentally engaged after retirement. A study of about 500 men and women 75 and older published in the journal Neurology in 2009 found that they could delay cognitive decline by participating in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, writing and doing puzzles.
Strong social ties can also help.
Harvard researchers followed 16,638 adults 50 and older for six years. Those who volunteered the most and had lots of connections to family and friends were least likely to show declines in memory tests.