A new study which followed almost 500 seniors for 21 years is the first to docoument that hobbies actually prevent Dementia. It's no secret that games like chess can help keep your mind sharp. But a new study released on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine adds strong new evidence that games and hobbies help ward off age related memory problems.
"What we found is that participating in cognitive stimulating activities like playing chess or playing a musical instrument or reading for pleasure was associated with a reduced risk of Dementia," says Dr. Joe Verghese, lead researcher on aging.
Dr. Verghese also says that physical activity helps, too, especially exercises that require thinking. And he says the more activities, the bigger the impact.
The study found that seniors who engaged in two to three different activities two to three times a week had more than a 60% lower risk of Dementia compared to those who were not as active. Overall, researchers decided that games and hobbies work the brain, thereby keeping the mind sharp, regardless of the senior's level of education.
By the way, when it comes to physical activity, researchers found that dancing offered the most benefits to seniors. The study was led by researchers at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.