Be a Beginner

It's great for your brain!


There’s a huge body of evidence to suggest that learning new things throughout your life is great for your brain. According to Dr. John N Morris, director of the Institute for Ageing Research, “Embracing a new activity that also forces you to think and learn and requires ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to keep the brain healthy."

As we age, our brains lose cognitive and memory function, but this effect can be mitigated if we take care to exercise the brain’s plasticity throughout our life.


But when it comes to protecting your brain’s function, not all new activities are equal. A study in the journal Psychological Science suggests that a challenging hobby which increases in complexity as you master it is your best bet.


Here are 5 new hobbies you could take up today!


Knitting


Knitting is a fabulous option. Not only does it involve fine-motor skills and a lot of counting, it’s also cheap to take up and increases in complexity the better you get. Bonus: everyone’s getting a scarf for Christmas!




Yoga


Again, yoga increases in complexity as you master the art. As a daily practice, it has a host of positive health benefits, including reducing the physiological effects of stress, which can trigger cognitive decline. You don’t need any special equipment to start, and there are loads of great YouTube channels which will lead you through different routines as you go.




Guitar


Taking up a musical instrument is wonderful for brain health, and it doesn’t matter how late in life you start! A recent study showed that people between the ages of 60 and 85 who took up piano lessons showed significant improvements in memory, verbal fluency, processing speed and planning ability after only 6 months.


Any instrument will do, but guitar is a great place to start, as second-hand instruments are affordable and easy to find. Here’s a wonderful beginner’s tutorial to get you strumming!




Haiku Composition


Writing a haiku is like solving a little puzzle, and it’s loads of fun, too! The rules are simple: three lines, 17 syllables in total, following a 5, 7, 5 syllable pattern. Like this:


For a healthy brain

You should try write Haiku

They make you think hard


Learn how to write a Haiku here.


Origami


Origami is relaxing, interesting and easy to get into. All you need is some paper and a little bit of space to work. There are loads of resources which will guide you through really cool origami projects, fold by fold.




Drawing


Another great one for brain health, drawing is calming and easy to do anywhere. All you need is a pencil and a blank page, and you can get started. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, you’ll quickly see improvement.