The Keys of Cognitive Health

Challenge


You know challenging your brain is good for your cognitive health. Firing your neurons with cognitively challenging tasks builds cognitive reserve. Simply put, cognitive reserve helps your brain be more resilient against the plaquesplagues and tangles linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain boosting activities come in many shapes and sizes. You’re probably heard kids who learn a musical instrument are better at science and math. It turns out that picking up a new instrument benefits aging brains, too!

One study followed a group of people ages 60 to 85 who took private piano lessons. After six months of playing piano, participants in the study showed improved cognitive performance. Executive function was especially improved. This is the ability to plan and execute a series of tasks.

Interested in picking up a new instrument? Many community centers offer group and private music lessons. Music stores are also a good resource for finding a musician who gives private lessons. If you don’t have much of a budget, you can even watch lesson videos on YouTube.

References

  • Bugos, J. A., Perlstein, W. M., McCrae, C. S., Brophy, T. S., & Bedenbaugh, P. H. (2007). Individualized piano instruction enhances executive functioning and working memory in older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 11(4), 464–471. doi: 10.1080/13607860601086504