Learning is unquestionably ingrained in our systems. It’s a skill acquired from birth that persists until old age.
Research shows that aging doesn’t always affect our learning capacity. Cognitive super agers can retain their brain power. In memory tests, individuals in their 80s performed almost as well as middle-agers. They also have more social awareness and intelligence than younger adults.
Benefits of Continuous Learning
Learning isn’t simply an activity that we do to graduate from school or get a job. It’s a lifelong pursuit. Here are some benefits of continuous learning.
Improves Cognitive Health
Like other muscles in the body, the brain can shrink in size and lose neural connections when not used. Keeping the brain active gives you a better chance of performing mental tasks like thinking and communicating.
Although currently inconclusive, a study pointed out advanced education as a way to be a cognitive super ager. Experts also suggest learning new skills, mentoring others, and engaging in other brain exercises help.
Learning new skills activates several brain regions, including the hippocampus, which is also responsible for reasoning, working memory, and episodic memory. As a result of this engagement in novel activities, older adults can improve their memories.
How can you restart your learning journey? Pursuing higher education and exploring new hobbies and interests will be worthwhile. The key is to do something that already captures your attention. It will be easier to get the momentum going this way.
Boosts Mood and Self-Confidence
Learning and confidence are intertwined. Students with high self-confidence tend to achieve more academically than their low-confidence counterparts. At the same time, learning new things triggers the release of dopamine, the happy hormone.
Furthering studies and mastering crafts can reduce one’s self-doubt. The mere fact that you are doing something to improve yourself is a sign that you are a capable learner.
Fosters New Social Connections
Social doors open up when we continuously expand our knowledge. Opening ourselves to various learning opportunities can lead us to find new friends.
Both the learner and the teacher benefit from knowledge sharing. As mentioned earlier, mentoring is one of the brain exercises that help us remain sharp. Moreover, this gives us the chance to expand our social circles.
Learning with your peers, whether old or new, make for better learning. There is solidarity in going through ups and downs as you try to learn a new skill together. Also, hanging out with friends interested in the same activities is much easier. Learning doesn’t just improve your brain but your social life as well.
Some people experience hurdles in learning. It could be from a learning disability, lack of good study habits, confidence, or resources. Showing others how you can overcome these hurdles can inspire them to do the same. You give them a concrete example that learning knows no age.
We’ll reap fruits from taking care of our cognitive health as early as possible. The good habits we form and our love for learning can benefit us later in life. Old age is not an excuse to stop learning. Even older adults living in aged care facilities engage in learning activities to keep their brains active.
There are many combinations of ways that can make us mentally fit. But also remember that our brains aren’t separate from our bodies. Our overall mental fitness is affected by our body’s condition. Hence, it is equally important that we take care of our bodies. We do this through proper diet, enough sleep, exercise, and stress management.
Continuous learning, however, has been studied over and over again to have cognitive benefits. Learning something new encourages active cognitive engagement, enhancing memories and stronger neural connections.
Additionally, there is dopamine that motivates us to keep on learning, which can boost emotional health. It also builds social connections by mentoring and sharing activities with others.
So, keep on learning! You might even be among the elite cognitive super-agers who maintain mental sharpness for life. Just imagine how sweet it is to grow old with lots of accumulated wisdom, skills, and knowledge.