People who engage in leisure activities such as going to the theatre or an art gallery could reduce their risk of developing dementia. According to latest research, people in their 40s and 50s, who took part in leisure activities scored higher results in memory and thinking tests as they approached the age of 80.
The latest research came to the conclusion that doing such activities as going on a trip to the theatre, visiting an art gallery, reading and writing all helped the brain to defend itself against dementia. The research was carried out by a team from the universities of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt who found that people who were also physically active as they headed from middle to old age were more likely to retain brain function as they aged.
Professor Ian Deary, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at Edinburgh University, led the study. He said: “There are good health and social reasons for being physically and culturally active in older age; if they are associated with better thinking skills too, that’s a bonus.”
Mental and physical activity
These latest findings add to a growing body of research that taking part in leisure activities while in middle age could help individuals to retain better thinking skills as they get older. Staying active not just mentally, just physically was also found to reduce the risk of dementia.
Currently, some 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, which costs the National Health Service around £26bn every year. With an ageing population, those figures are rising quickly year on year. The new findings have been welcomed by research bodies in Britain, who said that the study added to growing evidence about the importance of staying physically and mentally active. It was said to be particularly important in terms of pinning down the age when physical and mental activity was important for the prevention of dementia later in life.