A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that older adults with a busy schedule have a better cognitive performance than those who have a loose schedule.
On Tuesday, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas, Sara Festini, and her adviser Denise Park published the results of the findings in which over 300 healthy people between 50 and 89 years old were tested on cognitive functions, such as memory, reasoning and mental quickness, NPR reported.
In order to measure the participants’ cognitive performance, they answered a survey about their daily lifestyle and went through a neuropsychological test. Park described the survey process as a self-report data. She explains that people use to report chronic busyness as something stressful. If people are indeed dumping stress hormones into their body because they’re too busy during the day, that could affect their cognition.
Parks admits that the findings took her and Festini by surprise. They didn’t expect that those with busier routines could outperform those who with more free time. Tests unveiled that the busier the individual was, the better seemed to perform. Researchers believed that the brain is likely to improve mental skills while completing several tasks during the day. Park noted with excitement that among older participants, the gap between the busy ones and the ones not so busy was wider.
Being stress out isn’t good for your body
According to the results, regardless of the participants’ level of education, revealed that no matter at what age, keeping yourself busy is associated with an improvement in memory skills, reasoning, vocabulary and the speed with which the brain process everything. This finding also suggests that keeping the brain and body active could work as a protection against dementia.
However, Park warns that being chronically busy or stressed is not always a good thing for the brain. It might actually turn out the other way around. She says that they haven’t check yet whether people with busy schedules “are experiencing negative effects from a lifetime of busyness.”
According to Park, there are just a few studies, including theirs, that explores the way busyness could affect someone’s health. Even though having a daily busy schedule could help with mental cognitive performances, but that could also include consequences for hearts and metabolism.
Park and Festini insist that their findings are a reason to encouraging people to keep themselves active and busy, especially during middle and late adulthood.