How Lifelong Learning Keeps Your Mind and Body Feeling Young

Everyone knows the importance of physical exercise for staying healthy and young. And, more and more seniors are also taking advantage of the benefits of exercising their minds. Years of research has made it clear that lifelong learning can potentially help slow mental decline in older adults. This is, of course, a crucial part of enjoying your retirement years. But there are other huge benefits of staying mentally active throughout your entire life.

This blog post will describe the many ways in which lifelong learning can benefit you, and how the focus on continuing education at Grace Ridge makes it among the best communities for seniors who are filled with intellectual curiosity.

Cognitive Benefits of Lifelong Learning

A study at the University of Texas at Dallas found that seniors who regularly challenged themselves intellectually showed increased memory skills. The study showed that taking on an activity that requires concentration and focus can strengthen networks in your brain. This is a revolutionary change from the old idea that brain cells are static and cannot change and improve with exercise like the rest of your body.

The thought of Alzheimer’s disease is sobering for older adults. It affects roughly 4 million people in the U.S. Case Western Reserve University conducted a study which showed that seniors who participated in mentally challenging hobbies such as reading, playing chess or taking classes may be as much as 2.5 times less likely to have Alzheimer’s.

Consider your mind a muscle. Exercise it, and keep it strong and healthy!

Physical Benefits of Lifelong Learning

There are numerous studies showing that intellectual activity is good for your body. While you’re concentrating on a challenging task that requires your attention, your heart rate can slow and your blood pressure can drop. This is important for cardiovascular health, and can decrease the chance of a stroke or heart attack. There’s even some proof that it can help boost your immune system.

A study from Harvard and Princeton showed that the more educated a person is, the less likely they are to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, emphysema, diabetes and other health complications. These health advantages can lead to better exercise, leading to better overall well-being and living your best life.

Emotional Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Some of the studies mentioned above also found that the benefits of staying mentally active include lower levels of anxiety and depression. It can even lead to a more positive self-image. When you stay engaged in ongoing education, you give yourself a sense of purpose. You look forward to learning new things, to discovery and experimentation. And looking forward to the future is important at every stage of life.

And don’t forget one of the most important benefits of lifelong learning: It’s fun! When you’re challenging yourself by doing something you enjoy, it makes for a great way to spend your time. Enjoying life is what retirement is all about!

Social Benefits of Lifelong Learning

When you seek out ways to intellectually challenge yourself, whether it’s by playing chess or other board games, taking classes, joining a study group, a book club, or any other activity, you get to meet people who share your interests. Older adults know better than anyone that great joy can be found in spending time with like-minded people. It’s a wonderful experience to be among friends who interest you, challenge and inspire you. They bring out the best in you, as you do for them.

Lifelong Learning at Grace Ridge

If you want to live in a community of intellectually curious seniors, then you want to live at Grace Ridge. We know that every day is a new opportunity to learn and grow, at every age and every stage of life. We offer a lecture series, numerous clubs for your interests, cultural excursions and video presentations, and opportunities for spiritual fellowship.

We can even give you the opportunity to step up to a more formal learning experience. Our university-based retirement community allows for continuing education for older adults at nearby Western Piedmont Community College. For little to no cost, you can attend classes to whatever extent you desire. You can audit a class just for fun, or you can finish a degree!

The active and independent seniors at Grace Ridge know how to stay young. You’ll be able to learn and grow every day, and that’s the secret to living your best life. To find out more about our wide range of education programs, as well as other services and amenities, contact us.