If we want to stay truly healthy as we age to get the most out of life, we must strive to remain physically, socially and mentally active. Time and time again, studies show the healthiest seniors are those who engage in lifelong learning.
Whether you’re starting a new hobby or expanding your knowledge in an area that interests you, learning new things can be one of the most fun and rewarding challenges at any stage of your life. Physically, mentally and emotionally, the benefits of lifelong learning are proven to be essential to improving your quality of life.
3 Benefits of Lifelong Learning:
A recent study published by the Journal of American Medicine showed that seniors with an average age of 79 who participated in regular cognitive training increased what is called their “cognitive reserve”. Seniors who increased their cognitive reserve by an average amount reduced their risk of dementia by 23%. And, those who increased their cognitive reserve by the highest score reduced their risk by 39%. Your brain benefits from exercise just like your heart, muscles and bones do. Completing puzzles, word games and reading are great ways to get a mental workout. But nothing beats the benefits of learning activities.
The benefits of lifelong learning are not restricted to intellectual growth. It can expand your social circle, too. Continuing education classes at community centers and local universities give you an opportunity to meet people who have similar interests and can keep you in touch with the most up-to-date developments in your chosen field of study. And once you have learned new information, you’ll be more eager to share your knowledge and engage in conversation about it with others. Intellectual curiosity is a gateway to social interaction.
More Learning Activities than Ever Before
No matter where you live, or how mobile you are, it’s never been easier to enjoy the benefits of lifelong learning. Nowadays, learning is no longer only about going to school, reading book assignments, or even having to live near a particular educational institute that offers the specific field of study you’re interested in. Gaining access to online courses is easier than ever before. And in many cases, you can access online courses, videos or podcasts whenever you want, anytime day or night, and you can even take breaks along the way and pick up a lesson later on. So you can work around any schedule you want to keep. There’s nothing standing in your way!
What Should You Study?
You can learn a new craft or skill, or improve on one that you already enjoy. You can tackle a purely intellectual endeavor, like learning about philosophy or history. You can learn more about your own cultural heritage. You can learn to play a musical instrument. You can even learn a new language, which can be particularly satisfying and has been shown to be especially stimulating to brain activity and function.
You could even go as far as pursuing a degree program from an online university. Practically every college in the world offers online courses, and many even offer fully online degree programs. Statistics show that more and more older adults are pursuing college degrees than ever before, whether it be for personal or professional development. A study in 2019 showed that in the U.S., 5% of undergraduate students and 7% of graduate students were over 55. Once you start down the path of lifelong learning, there’s no limit to how far you can go!
How Do You Get Started?
To start to reap the benefits of lifelong learning, consider the endeavors that interest you, and the activities and subjects that excite you. What do you like to talk about? What do you wish you knew more about? Take notice of topics that grab your attention. Ask yourself, “Why?” Do you just want to know more in general, or do you feel a particular bond to a field of study? Think about how it would feel to know more about that topic, to be able to talk more authoritatively about it. Does that thought excite you? Then you’re on the right track!
At Harbour’s Edge, we understand the benefits of lifelong learning to your health, happiness and whole-life wellness. We offer group learning activities, help with online communication, and so many other services. We’ll make sure you never stop learning, never stop thriving, and never stop living your best life.
If you want to know more about our continuous learning programs, fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page. We can’t wait to meet you.