Are you exercising your brain to keep it healthy and agile?
Challenging work and play is key, whether you are solving problems on the job, engaging in brain games and crossword puzzles in your leisure, or taking on huge projects out of the norm for you such as building a house or learning to play an instrument.
Research now shows that speaking a second, third, or even fourth language offers another whole layer of insurance that may help protect your brain from the effects of aging.
Speaking other languages allows for flexibility of thought. The more languages seniors age 75 to 95 knew, the better they tested on cognitive functioning, according to researchers at a Tel Aviv University aging institute.
If you studied a foreign language in high school or college but haven’t spoken a word of it since, don’t worry. The language may be “more deeply engraved” in your mind than you realize, noted a University of Bristol study reported in ScienceDaily.
While participants in the latter study did not remember specific words, they did remember and identify “phonemes,” the smallest sounds that form words, thus giving them “an improved ability to relearn the language.”
To optimize your ability to learn a new language—or relearn a neglected one, consider the following tips from our accelerated EasyLearn Languages course:
- Play with the language instead of studying it. As you think positively about learning a language, your brain will turn on more learning power.
- Take it easy. Divide your play time into small units of 20 minutes, taking a 5- to 10-minute break between learning sessions.
- Speak new words and expressions out loud whenever possible. If you’re adventuresome, even act or dance them out—the more of your senses you employ, the greater your learning.
- Affirm your success. Congratulate yourself every time you recognize or think of a word, especially those times you are not studying.
In addition to increasing cognitive function, language learning gives you a competitive advantage in the workforce, enhances your understanding of other cultures, and just makes travel more enjoyable and fun. So start flexing your language muscles!