Exercising your brain through healthy social interactions with other humans is very important. Similar to adequate sleep, a good diet, and regular exercise, social interaction has a wide scope of positive benefits that you may not have previously considered.
Evidence based research shows that people who regularly engage in meaningful social interaction maintain their brain health better at all ages. One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health determined that just 10 minutes of daily social interaction increases performance on cognitive assessments and can give an important cognitive edge as we age. That's something we can all do and very achievable no?
Social situations and the development of relationships require our brains to engage in using multiple neural networks (different parts of the brain) that support healthy day-to-day function and capability. The mental stimulation involved in face-to-face interactions play a crucial role in preventing cognitive decline and can actually be a great way for us to improve cognition (thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving).
Besides cognitive improvement, social interactions facilitate the development and maintenance of our support system and network. As the Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported, “dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”
What can we do to help our cognitive function?
Sports, cultural activities, emotional support, and personal relationships collectively appear to have a defensive effect against dementia and cognitive function.
Stimulating the mind and body to remain socially engaged include the following activities:
- Staying active in the workplace
- Volunteering in community groups and causes
- Joining bridge clubs, Tai Chi groups, dancing clubs, walking groups, book clubs, gardening groups, or other community social groups
- Travelling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures
- following We Connect activities that all help with this
Fun activities and just a few minutes a day can help with our cognitive decline .