So, the keys to good health as you age: Eat right, exercise regularly and… learn another language?
It turns out that learning a foreign language isn’t just good for work prospects, meeting new people or communicating while on vacation; learning a second language is good for your health as you age. As people are living longer and longer and have more expectations about what their later life should look like, discovering ways to stay sharp all the way down the line is increasingly important.
Enter language learning. Studies have shown that speaking more than one language helps delay dementia as well as accounts for better cognitive abilities in older adults.
A recently released study from the University of Edinburgh found that people who spoke two or more languages had better cognitive function in their old age, especially in the areas of reading and general intelligence. They had first tested a group of native English speakers’ abilities when they were children and then retested the participants decades later when they were in their early 70s. The cognitive benefits applied to participants who had learned a foreign language as children, in addition to those who learned a foreign language later in life.
What does this mean for you? Even if you don’t know another language right now, there’s still time. You can start learning today, and even if you don’t become best friends with verb charts, you can still reap the cognitive benefits from learning another language down the road.
It’s no doubt that learning a foreign language is a process. It requires memorization, creativity and practice. With work and family and all the other important things in our lives, it can be hard to find the time. However, taking some time out for you and wanting to preserve your cognitive functions as you age is a no-brainer.
What new language would you like to learn?