Even if you're not looking to jump back into school, you can still use other forms of mental activity to give your mind a workout. "Education gives you a boost earlier in life – it builds up your cognitive muscle – but in older life, if you want to maintain that advantage, you have to continue taking part in mentally stimulating activities," says Verghese. He conducted a study of 488 adults over the age of 75 and found that doing cognitive activities – like crossword puzzles, reading, or playing music – actually delayed the onset of memory decline among people who eventually developed dementia. The results showed that for every cognitively active day, dementia was delayed by about two months.
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