Remember the day your graduated from school and thought — ‘Alright, no more school!’ Well, as you get older you find that is not exactly true. Even if you aren’t in the classroom that doesn’t stop you from learning, and you learn something new every day.

A good family tradition in some households is to eat together at the dining room table and review what each person has learned that day. It not only presents an opportunity to bond and interact with the family, but a chance to go back and think about all the new things you have learned that day. It’s also a great memory improvement exercise, and one that cements information in your brain for long-term memory.

Whoever said “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks” wasn’t really paying attention. The only thing getting in the way of learning is a closed mind. Everyone has the ability within them to store memories as well as make them. They also have the ability to learn new things. The only thing stopping them is the desire to do so. Learning IS a lifelong process!

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that learning not only promotes brain health in everyone, even among seniors (senior citizens, seniors in high school, and seniors in college as well). Researchers at the University of California at Irvine used the latest in visualization techniques to prove that everyday learning, not just accelerated learning, gets the neuron receptors in the hippocampus (the area of the brain linked to learning and memory) up and moving to perform at optimum levels. These neuron receptors are activated by a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is the key in the formation of memories. The BDNF protein promotes growth among the connectors responsible for communication among the neurons.

Imagine how rocking your brain would be if you accelerated learning by use of brain games, brain food, exercise and memory training! As we grow older our brains naturally begin to age, and what was once active and quick may no longer be quite so. Learning helps to promote memory skills, and prevent mental decline that comes with aging — including dementia.

So, keep an open mind, continue to seek out new learning experiences, and do something creative to keep your mind active. “Use it or lose it” is not just a quotation. Play challenging mind games with your children or grandchildren (they will be amazed at how good your are at them). Take on animated discussions about politics or religion — which always seems to get people going. Listen — Talk — Read — Write — and enjoy life! It’s all a learning experience.

Sources: No, You’re Not Out Of School Yet! —