Stay busy to stay young
“What if ‘busyness’ is kind of like a fountain of youth?” asks Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right. “What if being busy, staying very active is a way to stay young?”
A recent study called The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study found that of 300 older individuals between the ages of 50 and 89, the brains of people who were busy, worked better—regardless of their age: “Busier people tend to have better cognition, especially episodic memory. Our findings offer encouragement to maintain active, busy lifestyles throughout middle and late adulthood.” The study noted that busier people could reason better, had better working memory, better vocabulary and had better ability to remember specific events from the past.
In practical terms, Nelson says to take a second look at retirement. “Maybe the fantasy of sitting on a beach sipping pina coladas for those 20 or 30 or 40 years post-retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” suggests Nelson. “Maybe you’d be better off sipping a pina coladas on an occasional Friday evening after work.”
If your job is not-so-pleasant and you can afford to opt out of the working world, Nelson suggests taking on a volunteer role: “There are volunteer organizations to fit every conceivable interest.
“The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study points out that the more opportunities to learn and the more we are in contact with different people and situations, the more we stimulate our brains,” says Nelson. “A mix of activities–some creative, some physical, some giving back, some just plain fun—can be a wonderful approach to a busy, meaningful and rewarding long life.”