7 powerful benefits to continued learning as an adult
Getting older has its challenges. But how we take on these challenges defines them as positive or negative. A number of scientific studies over the years shows that a healthy mix of both physical and intellectual activity as we age helps us maintain our overall well-being. We can preserve a healthy body and a healthy mind, delaying, mitigating or even eliminating the onsets of physical injuries, plus ailments like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The learning we do in adulthood isn’t always done in a classroom. That’s the beauty of continued learning. You can learn a new instrument, craft, language, skill, education … anything! And you can learn in your own hours, in any location and with whomever you wish.
1. Personal development
Seeking to learn new skills and develop new ideas is a process of self-improvement. Learning can not only give you a clearer idea of who you are as a person and where your interests really lie, but can also add more dimensions to your character.
2. Confidence booster
Learning is empowering. It continuously gives you the chance to discover things you’re good at and expand your skills portfolio, thereby boosting your self-esteem and giving you a sense of pride from your achievements. Taking up a new course, sport or learning an instrument can work wonders for your confidence, as it encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and approach something completely new. The more you take part, the more you’ll begin to feel at ease, in turn boosting your confidence levels and broadening your skillset.
3. Improves well-being
It’s no secret that learning can drastically improve your quality of life; picking up new skills and developing new talents can widen your interests, give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, protect against poor mental health and increase autonomy. You’re also bound to meet new people along the way, which will widen your social circle and give you the confidence to approach others in situations where you may not have done before.
4. Brain health
Retaining new information and gaining new skills helps to keep the mind and body stimulated, contributing towards a healthy brain. This could help to ward off health problems in later life, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
If your brain’s not being fed new information, it’s easy to feel uninspired and you’ll likely become bored. Approaching new challenges can be fun and rewarding, making you feel happier in both the short and long term.
Acquiring new skills will give you a newfound freedom to take charge of situations and tasks that you may have had to depend on others for in the past. This means that you can take matters into your own hands independently, rather than having to rely on somebody else.
Learning new information and skills is a truly valuable experience and one that you’ll be able to share with those around you. If you have children or grandchildren, you can pass your knowledge onto them, which in turn will better help them in various situations they’ll encounter throughout life.
Where to start?
That’s entirely up to you what you want to learn. Learning encompasses anything from musical instrument, a new language, a specialised industry, creative arts, performing arts, anything! Local seniors centres and community centres offer classes are a great place to start if you want to learn a new skill. They usually have a wide variety of classes to choose from, covering everything from arts and languages to fitness and cooking. There is also courses offered specifically for older adults named, University of the Third Age (U3A). If you google University of the Third Age (U3A) and your city / region there is bound to be a website available with more information. And if there’s not one in your city, there are online courses available too.
Here’s a few links to city U3A to get some started:
It’s the perfect opportunity to take that course you’ve always wanted to take or pick up that hobby you’ve always wanted to try out. The satisfaction of finally mastering that skill or digging into a subject you’ve always been curious about will give you a huge boost of self-confidence and you’ll feel great about making good use of your free time.
Want to read more? Check out some of our latest blogs around learning: Powerful benefits of learning a musical instrument after 60, 12 techniques to improve your concentration, 13 benefits of learning a musical instrument as we get older.
– Taylor & Francis Online, Learning and Active Aging. Educational Gerontology, Volume 32, 2006 – Issue 4. By Laurie Buys & Jan Lovie-Kitchin. Read more
– Virtual College, What are the benefits of adult learning? 1 July 2015. Read article
– Taylor & Francis Online, Education and Learning for the Elderly: Why, How, What. Educational Gerontology, Volume 36, 2010 – Issue 3. By Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M. Read more
– Psychology Today, Can Lifelong Learning Help As We Age? By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. 12 October 2012. Read more
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