Investing in the care of your body is of course an integral part of showing respect for yourself and partaking of your highest potential. However, engaging the mind and staying mentally active is also important for enjoying your longevity and living to the fullest.
Keeping the Mind Fresh
As we age, our brains undergo physical changes, just like our bodies do. 1 Physical exercise can help keep the mind fresh and bright, but taking on new mental challenges—like learning a new language or course of study—are also beneficial. Any mental activity that enlivens the mind and stretches your capacities will promote your overall health.
In recognition of the increasing need for lifelong education and intellectual enrichment, higher education institutions are retooling their offerings and implementing new strategies to serve non-traditional students who seek out challenges at advanced ages, and such institutions are breaking the tired mold of what life after retirement is supposed to look like. 2
The University of California in Irvine recently dubbed its own continuing education program the “60-year curriculum.” 3 “UCL now, more than ever, is recognizing the importance of the 60-year curriculum—lifelong learning for everyone,” says Gary W. Matkin, dean of the program.
Building Your Cognitive Reserve
But don’t wait until you are a centenarian to get started! A recent study by researchers at the University of Exeter found that taking on tasks like leadership or continuing education earlier in life can build up what they called a cognitive reserve, which improved the mental resilience and prolonged mental well-being in those studied. 4
Nurture and master your mind as part of your 100-Year-Lifestyle. Pilates classes and exercise gear are tangible reminders that you are taking your health seriously, and respecting your well-being. But less tangible things—like learning a new craft or topic, or having a lively debate with friends about a recent film—also have a place in the holistic approach to enjoying the long-term health you deserve.
Think about ways to invest in your mind as well as your body, and you will be on your way to thriving at 100 percent for 100 years.
1 12 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young, Harvard Health Publishing, Mind and Mood, accessed January 2, 2018.
2 Learning for a Lifetime, Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2018.
3 UCI Extension Announces Name Change to UCI Division of Continuing Education to Emphasize Lifelong Learning.
4 Potentially modifiable lifestyle factors, cognitive reserve, and cognitive function in later life: A cross-sectional study, PLOS Medicine, March 21, 2017.