How the internet can help your brain

How the internet can help your brain

Keeping your brain active with mentally challenging tasks has been proven to slow cognitive decline, and new research showed that learning to use the Internet is one such activity. Mastering complex skills and eating right have also been linked to improved brain function. 

Digital technology isn't so bad
Many seniors struggle to understand modern technology, but they can benefit from learning these new skills. A study published in The Journals of Gerontology showed a link between digital literacy and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.

The research involved more than 6,000 participants between the ages of 50 and 89. The adults took memory tests over a period of eight years. The data showed that individuals with higher wealth, education and digital ability had better scores on these assessments. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to engage, plan and execute digital actions, such as browsing websites, sending emails and using social media.

"Digital literacy increases brain and cognitive reserve and leads to the employment of more efficient cognitive networks to delay cognitive decline," said the authors. 

Other brain boosters
Besides learning to navigate a computer, there are other tasks that reduce the risk of cognitive problems. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, mentally taxing activities serve as exercise for the brain.

A study at the University of Texas showed that learning a new skill is an effective way to prevent cognitive decline. Adults between the ages of 60 and 90 were asked to practice digital photography or quilting for 15 hours each week. This group showed greater improvement in mental skills than the groups who pieced together puzzles or engaged in social activities.

"The findings suggest that engagement alone isn't enough," said lead researcher Denise Park. "The three learning groups were pushed very hard to keep learning more and mastering more tasks and skills. Only the groups that were confronted with continuous and prolonged mental challenge improved."

In addition to these activities, there's evidence that an omega-3 supplement can support brain function. A fish oil supplement can provide the proper fatty-acids that boost brain matter and keep you sharp.

Essential takeaways

  • New research showed that seniors who can navigate the internet have better memory.
  • Learning digital photography or quilting can also reduce the chance of cognitive problems. 
  • An omega-3 supplement like Omax3 can supplement these brain-boosting activities.