A new report released by the Institute for the Study of Aging and the International Longevity Center says older people who want to stay mentally agile are better advised to put down the pill bottle and pick up a pencil.
Research shows that seniors who do crossword puzzles, exercise and seek help for emotional problems may stay sharper longer than those who put their trust in unproven cures such as melatonin, DHEA, testosterone and human growth hormone. These drugs and supplements may have long-term adverse effects.
Other strategies to keep the mind functioning, say experts, include lifelong learning and memory training, physical activity, meaningful work and social activities. Seeking help for sleep disorders and sticking to a nutritious diet are also recommended.
Older adults who remain physically active have a better blood supply to the brain, higher test scores in some cognitive areas and improved reaction time.Even those who have never exercised before can improve improve their problem solving abilities by taking up walking, say the researchers.