Busy Lifestyle Even As You Age Better for Cognition
Researchers Sara B. Festini, Ian M. McDonough and Denise C. Park have conducted a study that essentially shows that a busy lifestyle is better for our brain.
They surmised that because sustained engagement in mentally challenging activities has been shown to improve memory in older adults, an engaged lifestyle might facilitate cognition.
Results from more than 300 study participants, 50 and 89 years old, revealed that greater busyness was associated with better processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge. They assessed their “busyness” levels — asking questions such as, “How often do you have too many things to do each day to actually get them all done?” The data demonstrate that living a busy lifestyle is associated with better cognition.
The researchers also gave the volunteers a battery of tests that gauged memory, information processing speed, reasoning and vocabulary.
Now to be sure “occupation, income, ethnicity and race are all important factors that can influence accessibility to resources that support an active lifestyle,” said Debra Fleischman, a professor of neurological and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. Health also plays a part.
Older adults might tend to see a hectic schedule as a good thing — a sign that they have purpose in life, Fleischman said.