Activities like playing chess, making crafts, and socializing could help keep the aging mind sharp, new research published in the Journal of Internal Medicine shows.
Nearly 2,000 seniors from Olmsted County in Minnesota participated in the study, ranging in age from 70 to 93. Researchers found that even among participants who carried a gene variation linked with Alzheimer’s disease, the development of mild cognitive impairment was less common when seniors engaged in five types of mind-stimulating activities: using the computer, making crafts, playing games such as bridge and chess, reading books, and going to movies or other kinds of socializing.
Dr. Yonas Geda, the study’s senior author and a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says the study demonstrates that seniors do not need to spend their life savings on expensive gadgets. According to the study, simply getting coffee with a friend or surfing the web could help protect against dementia.
Researchers pointed out that the statistical link they found with reduced risk does not prove the activities were responsible, but supports the benefits of mental engagement for brain health.