Exercise Your Brain by Learning a New Language
by Kelly Winter
research surrounding this topic. A quick internet search will fetch you volumes of
information on related studies so I won't go into technical detail here except to
summarize that findings show that when the brain is stimulated to produce new
neural pathways (connections between brain cells) on a continuous basis, throughout
your life, the brain will continue to grow and improve.

Neurologists have reported that by spending only 20 minutes, 3 times a week,
practicing mental exercises you can reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's
disease by 70%. And so, what is an effective brain exercise? It has been discovered
that for a brain exercise to be beneficial it needs to meet three criteria; one, it needs
to engage your attention, two, it must involve more than one of the senses (sight,
sound, touch, smell, taste), and three, it must break a routine activity in an
unexpected, nontrivial way.[1]

Learning a new language is recognized as being a highly effective brain exercise
because it strongly meets and even exceeds all three of these criteria.

One, you must focus intently to make progress in your lessons thus making your
brain work strenuously. You have to listen to a word or phrase, repeat back the
word or phrase and at the same time your mind has to translate the meaning of
words from and to your native language. Add memorization, listening, reading and
writing to the list and your brain will feel the workout.

Two, you must use sight, sound and speech to properly speak and understand a new
language. Although speech is not one of the five senses, it does require the brain to
interpret and organize the information from the other senses and to formulate a
response using motor-skills thereby exceeding criteria number two.

Three, If you only speak one language than it is probably safe to assume that
learning a new language would not be a routine activity for you. Even if you already
speak multiple languages, each new language brings new concepts and challenges to
the brain.

Besides the obvious benefit of brain longevity, learning a new language will provide
other benefits such as confidence when travelling to the country where your new
language is spoken and perhaps it could even open doors for certain careers.

There are many ways to learn a new language ranging from formal classroom style
courses to self-paced video, audio or online computer courses. My personal
preference is online computer courses mainly because when cleverly designed, they
are highly interactive, entertaining and transportable (that is if you have a laptop or
access to multiple computers). A well designed computer based language courses will
offer a variety of learning techniques such as audio, video, text, games and quizzes
providing an even greater opportunity to flex your brain muscles.

About The Author

Kelly Winter is just one of the many baby boomers concerned with keeping healthy,
active and alert as she enjoys the next phase of her life. She enjoys traveling the
world and has had great fun and success learning to speak Spanish with the rocket
language program which offers all the benefits mentioned in her article. Check it out
at [http://www.easylanguages.ca] and start to challenge your brain now.

[1] Alzheimer's Research & Prevention Foundation
It is no mystery that the secret to
preventing memory loss, dementia
and Alzheimer's disease is to ensure
your brain stays active throughout
your life. Largely fueled by the
concerns and fears of the aging baby
boomers, there is a thriving business
surrounding this topic and you can
now find numerous books, articles,
games, courses, websites and other
products dedicated to helping you
maintain a healthy and properly
functioning brain.

Luckily, this is not all just hype and
there has been extensive scientific
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