Do you remember the officer Murtagh, the veteran policeman from the “Lethal Weapon”? He was about to retire and whatever extraordinary event took place around him he kept saying “I’m too old for this… well, stuff.” It seems like whenever we reach a certain stage in our lives and careers we also adopt that pattern and become too idle to take new challenges.
But we usually don’t confess we’re lazy even to ourselves. Have you ever noticed that whenever you don’t want to do anything, you find multiple reasons to prove you can’t perform it because it’s simply impossible? That’s being lazy. A myth that you can be too old to learn (maths, a foreign language or even ice dancing) is very convenient for everybody and thus very spread. But for the last decade, it’s no secret anymore that getting old or not is our personal choice.
Brain grows new cells whenever it needs them
Dr. Gene Cohen was the first director of the Center on Aging, Health, and the Humanities at the George Washington University. He gave us a totally new perspective on what is brain aging. For centuries we were sure that as soon as we enter a certain phase in our lives our brain stops creating new cells. Cohen’s research proved that the brain never stops creating new cells as long as it needs them. But this is only the case when the brain actually requires them, that is when it is exercised.
In addition to growing new cells, the brain constructs new bridges between them. It is proven that after we turn 60 our brain contains more myelin, which comprises the white cerebral substance that connects the neurons. The more myelin we have – the faster the impulses travel between the neurons and the less time it takes us to solve a puzzle or to figure out something.
Becoming wiser and more insightful
Besides the wonderful fact that the brain is never really too old to learn, there are far more reasons to continue exploring new horizons after you’ve turned fifty, sixty or even seventy.
You’re more rational and less emotional. The chemistry of your brain changes and you are not as much susceptible to hormones fluctuations and therefore your thinking isn’t influenced by mood. This also means you are not so much depending on stress and your decisions are wiser.
Your intuition will grow as well. Science can’t explain the nature of the intuition or of the insights, but currently, it is thought to be caused by the structure named callosum. Basically, callosum consists of the neural fibers that connect the two cerebral hemispheres, and the more bridges there are – the more intuitive the person can be. As we know now we develop more myelin fibers when we age, so our intuition grows as well.
There are ways to keep your brain fit for longer
All of these benefits seem very attractive. But just as your muscles need training your mind requires exercising as well. Most of the things you could do to keep your brain fit for longer are quite ordinary rules for healthy living.
– Keep your physical body in a good shape – go in for sports, watch your posture, take care of your nutrition
– Achieve psychological comfort – surround yourself with nice people, keep in touch with your friends and family. Try to laugh more and to think positively
– Learn something new all the time – how to play guitar, how to embroider or how to cook molecular cuisine. Learn a new foreign language – Russian would do great for this purpose
– Pamper your senses – listen to classical music, use aromatic substances that seem enjoyable to you.
– Challenge yourself with puzzles, intellectual games, and maths problems.
So, if you wonder when it is too late to learn the answer is backed by science. It’s never, so start off right now – learning Russian is a great way to increase your brain powers.