Mental activity (or more commonly “cognitive activity” in research terms) is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Cognitive activities often promote social interaction and a feeling of achievement and enjoyment similar to social activities.
However, staying mentally active is especially beneficial for protecting against dementia. Mental activity helps support the growth, maintenance, and repair of connections between brain cells, and reduce the prevalence of biological features of Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no real guide to how much and what sort of activity you should do – as long as you find an activity challenging and engaging (although preferably something novel as well), this should help to support healthy brain ageing.
Some research has examined whether “brain training” applications and games offer additional benefits but at this stage there is little to suggest they are any better than doing other cognitively-stimulating activities.
For more scientific information on the benefits of mental activity, the Cognitive Activity section of the National Seniors Australia-commissioned Healthy Ageing: The State of the Evidence and Available Resources report can be obtained below:
For links to additional information on mental activity, pleases consult the Healthy Ageing Resource Portal:
Remember, there are benefits to an overall active lifestyle. This also includes physical and social activity – you can read about the benefits of these below:
To read about other lifestyle factors associated with healthy ageing, click here: