(note: this is a re-post from another blog of mine – click here to see it in its original form)
I’m writing this inspired by a post I saw on Twitter by the amazing Kimberley Wilson – but also in my capacity as a life coach and a language learner. Finally – I’m writing this because I care about what happens to you as you get older. There have been many stories of people fading away before their strength is all spent. And I believe that you don’t need coaching, therapy or productivity training to be the best you can be: science shows us that simple but regular activities can be fun, beneficial and potentially life-extending. Here are three of them – do let me know if you’ve got more to share!
1. Language learning
Unsurprisingly, this post kicks off with my favourite activity. The research is there: scientist saw brain matter growth in language learners. They saw the potential of bilingual lifestyle for delaying Alzheimer’s. When done everyday and regularly, this exposes you to a multitude of social and cultural stimuli that also help you feel more connected – not something that’s easily measured by science, but something one can appreciate at one’s own pace.
Using your brain to communicate, and to overcome language difficulties – that’s what matters here, and that’s what keeps your brain going. If you start today, it’s great – and it’s never too late to begin!
This is the “miracle cure” that doctors in the UK are nowadays recommended to prescribe: 30 minutes of any workout you choose, five times a week. Apart from the well-documented health benefits, there’s one that is not often discussed: exercise helps keep your brain strong and healthy.
Unlike language learning (which you can pick up at any age), exercise regimes tend to vary according to how fit and well-trained you already are. But after you’ve heard so much about trying to work out regularly, this is yet another argument for it: your brain benefits as well!
Early stages for the research into this one – possibly this will be correlated with other healthy things in the meditating folks’ lifestyles? It’s worth looking at the results though: meditation helps your brain.
I wrote about meditation earlier, and every week I seem to hear something new about it. This is just another reason to try it out, it seems – and another way it can help you.
4. The hidden ingredients: Fun and You
Here’s what I really like about these three things: you get to decide how and when to do them. And you decide what feels good, what’s helping, and what to tweak or leave behind.
German grammar tables not your cup of tea? Swap them for lots of conversation until the confidence is there to hit the books again. Meditation feels a bit dull? Yoga can be a nice way to mix up the focus and the exercise. Maybe you haven’t got enough time to do languages and jogging at once? There must be someone willing to have a run with you and chat in a foreign language – even if it’s just over the bluetooth headset!
These aren’t clinical procedures. They aren’t complicated, demanding or prohibitively expensive. Once you start, you are in control of what to do next – what else to try – and when to pause or move on. This is the “You” part, seeking out the fun.
5. What are we missing?
Let us all know. Twitter’s still a good way to reach me – it would be really great to hear of new ways to stop our brains from being eaten!
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