Apart from doing physical exercises and keeping active to stay fit, old people especially those who are 70 and above could help their brains remain agile, if they just indulge in brain exercises, to enhance their cognitive abilities to keep them alert as they advance in age, researchers said.
Previous insights have indicated the benefits of engaging the brain in crossword puzzles and mind games. The study led by Sherry Willis, a human-development professor at Penn State University and published in the journal f American medical association, showed the benefits of ten sessions, comprising of an hour each of brain exercises on senior citizens.
Nearly 3,000 men and women from six cities participated in the study of whom majority were white and about one-fifth were black. They were indiscriminately allocated six-week training sessions on memory, reasoning and quick mental processing. Tests were conducted before and after the commencement of training sessions. Parallely, another was not subjected to any training, but only participated in the testing procedure to allow for a comparative study.
The finding revealed that almost 90% of the speed training group, 74% of the reasoning group and 26% of the memory group portrayed immense improvement during mental ability tests which lasted throughout the five years of the study. The comparison group did not show as much improvement as the group that undertook training sessions.
Researchers concluded that even appreciable amount of cognitive training had a tangible impact in maintaining alertness in the brain functions of people who are advancing into old age.