Learn something new…that scares you!
Use your hands much? One of the most protective things you can do against aging is to learn a manual skill when you’re young…and keep it up. Strumming a guitar, knitting, tying a lure — all those things that a younger you rolled their eyes at — are valuable lubrication for your future brain!
The next best thing? Learn something new.
This is wisdom from neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of the 2020 book Successful Aging. He points out that, “Older adults’ brains are plastic, capable of great feats of rewiring and adaptation….” And yet, neuroplasticity doesn’t slow down as much if you made demands on your brain for many years. The creative arts or jobs and hobbies that require new adaptations every time you approach a task “helps protect the brain against dementia, rigidity and neural atrophy.”
Doing crossword puzzles to flex your brain? You’ll get better at doing crossword puzzles, but your brain still needs you to use your hands, learn something new and learn something that scares you!
Is your roster of manual skills rusty? YouTube is everyone’s friend and teacher. After riding a bike for 55 years I finally learned to change a bike chain thanks to YouTube. Never too late to learn.
How about taking your skills to the next generation? Support your adult children to learn skills they eschewed when living at home. Carpentry and sewing are in vogue again! And maybe you can pull your little darlings, your grandchildren, away from their screens by teaching them a manual skill.
Engage your brain at work or at home in meaningful activities. Your future self will thank you!
You can read the full article exploring learning something new here.