Thinking Skills – Use it or lose it! Making learning a lifelong endeavour

The question is: Brains - Do they decline?

Did you know that between the age of 20 and 80 your brain decreases from 1.4kg to 1.2kg. However, studies of people in the 60-80 age range show there is only a tiny decrease in mental capacity as we get older: approximately 1% annually.

So, the myth that brain power declines with age seems to have been finally laid to rest. The good news is that this is less to do with a decline in the brain's power but more a lack of stimulation.

Some of the world's most creative people have been exceptionally prolific at advanced ages - Picasso, Haydn, Michelangelo and Gauguin to name but a few. It doesn't matter what age you are, if you stimulate the brain, new connectors or, 'twigs' grow on each brain cell's branches and increase the total number of connections.

Our body creates new brain connections more rapidly than the average loss of brain cells. Even losing 10,000 a day from birth, the total number lost by the age of 80 would be less than 3%.

Learning should be a lifelong endeavour.

Why? Long term studies have proved that those who continue and persevere with learning new skills showed a 5% annual increase in their ability to accept new information even into their 90's. Those who gave up learning new skills showed large decreases in mental powers from as young as 60.

Let's take this further.

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