Cityvisitor blog

Give your middle-aged brain a workout

There’s never been a better time to be in your 50s. If you’ve a firm footing on the property ladder and been in a decent job most of your working life, then you can look forward to a rosy retirement.

If only it were that simple. While having financial security in later life certainly helps, there are some things that money can’t buy.

Most of us in middle age are painfully aware that good health shouldn’t be taken for granted. Those aches and pains that were easily shaken off not that long ago, now linger longer. Keeping yourself fit, whatever your age and condition, is common sense.

But what about the old grey matter? Like our bodies, the brain needs plenty of exercise too. My memory has started to fade: unable to recall names, forgetting why I’ve gone upstairs. All you 50-somethings know the kind of thing.

Help is at hand, however – in the form of brain training. Researchers at King’s College London have discovered that playing online games gives the memory a healthy workout. Some 7,000 over 50s who spent six months tackling mental exercises around problem solving and reasoning kept their cognitive skills better than those who did not. The over 60s in particular found this helped with cooking and shopping tasks.

As dementia numbers increase, with more than 850,000 people in the UK suffering from the condition according to the Alzheimer’s Society, anything we can do to stall the onset of old age is worth a try.

So even if you don’t like playing electronic games, this is a legitimate reason to spend another 10 minutes a day on the computer.

The same researchers have found that brain training has no benefit for you sprightly lot under 50. So all that time wasted playing Angry Birds on your phone really isn’t doing you any good.


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