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Good News About Aging


Good News: Ramp Up Your Learning




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Disclaimer:
Mark Underwood is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
April 1, 2013 | 952 views | Post a comment

Sign up for curling lessons or go back to school to earn a degree. Whatever your interest, you’re never too old to tell your brain to learn something new.

Keep yourself healthy and fit by learning new things this year. The sky is the limit when it comes to trying your hand at new projects that you’ve been thinking about. The good news is there are literally millions of activities and classes out there to choose from.

When you get on board, there’s a bonus to boot. Anything that engages your focus and attention can slow down the typical aging process. No matter what you have in mind, neurologists say if you ask your brain to learn, it will learn.

Have you ever thought about going back to school and finishing a degree you started years ago? Or what about taking cake decorating classes or learning watercolor painting. What about enrolling in a Master Gardener program at your local botanical gardens, or taking tango lessons at a dance studio, or accordion lessons, or discovering the subtleties of beer brewing?

Maybe you just want to improve your Contract Bridge skills. There’s a class for that, and other topics, online and at local community centers.

The Department of Education estimates that there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of adults enrolled in one or more classes in recent years. With the huge array of classes available there never has been a better time to sign up and something new.

Worried about learning something new? Don’t be. We all know the phrase, ‘mind over matter’, but does the mind actually have the ability to ‘unlock’ hidden potential? The answer is a resounding ‘yes!’

Making the Leap to Learning

How is cognitive research helping the average person learn? Research keeps finding how our minds solve problems and retain information. Science has found that every day our brains face new variables and every day our problem solving skills are put to the test.

Research has shown that life-long learning is connected with healthy living and aging, better memory and improved problem solving skills. As we age, the neurons in our brain lose the tree-branch connections between them. These connections, called synapses, are essential to thinking and memory.

Perhaps the most striking brain research today is the strong evidence that good old-fashioned learning exercises the brain and may forestall some types of mental decline, and possibly restore memory. So ramp up learning to keep yourself fit and healthy.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Learning

Scout your community for clubs that interest you. Many clubs (like chess clubs, orchid growers, Scrabble players) give you the opportunity to learn from each other and improve your skills.

Get organized. Adding a class or activity in your life means you need to make time for it. Use organizational tools like notebooks, planners and computer reminders so you keep on track.

Kick start a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat a balanced diet and try to get a good night’s sleep. If you feel good, you’re much more likely to be a successful at improving your learning experience.

Dedicate time to practice. The old adage, “Practice makes perfect” rings true when you’re learning something new. All that’s required to get better at something is dedicated time to practice—the more you practice the more efficient and better you’ll get.

Pursue your dreams. Look for new endeavors that you would love to do. It only makes sense that you’re going to be the most successful at what you’re most passionate about.
 
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