Expanding your skills and knowledge offers proven health benefits, keeps your mind sharper, and offsets many of the concerns associated with aging. Thanks to the internet, you can reap the benefits of learning at your convenience and from the comfort of wherever you can access a computer. The internet is a smorgasbord of options - the online learning possibilities are endless!
Benefits to Your Mind
Learning can be fun! Even if you don’t look forward to it for the sheer pleasure of the experience, you will find that learning enhances your mind, offsetting mental decline and enhancing skills. Brain exercises help to improve memory and focus. Think about what subjects interest you and you are sure to find a source for learning.
Comfortable with a Computer
If your first hurdle is getting more comfortable with a computer, the internet, and a mouse, fear not! Through online tutorials on websites such as Skillful Senior, you can get acclimated at your own pace and with information that is geared toward people like yourself who aren’t used to the ins and outs of the internet. You can learn to email with your family members, use social media, and even access and record medical information.
Once comfortable with a computer, you can explore the abundant options available to you online. Participate solo or gather a group of friends to add to the fun! We've listed some options:
The AARP cites experts who describe learning a new language as “sending your brain to the gym.” What’s more, it’s not any more difficult for seniors than for younger people. The difference is believed to be how much time and effort you are able to dedicate toward the education, not in the age of the mind learning the language. You may even have more tools in your tool belt, especially if you learned another language at some time in the past. Older learners often retain better skills and strategies for adding a language to their repertoire. For instance, you can learn or refresh your Spanish skills through the Annenberg Foundation, taking advantage of “Destinos” for listening, speaking, and comprehension.
Music offers tremendous benefits to mental, emotional, and physical health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes music can reduce symptoms of depression, combat stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and boost your mood. Music is believed by some scientists to release feel-good chemicals in your brain, helping you through hard times or just motivating you to keep moving. Learn to play a musical instrument through online lessons. Find tips on buying a saxophone, clarinet, or trumpet through websites such as Woodwind Brasswind, which even offers an online wishlist to share what you would enjoy with family and friends.
Some studies show that seniors benefit from engaging with nature, both physically and mentally. The activity, involvement with green space, and social interaction can be a boon to your well being, reducing stress levels, putting you in a better mood, and even keeping your mind sharper. One option is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, offering a variety of bird-related learning opportunities to explore online, including maps, identification assistance, and bird watching via live streaming. “Project FeederWatch” is a neat, user-friendly opportunity to explore; Cornell’s interactive page allows you to contribute to their research through your observations at your own bird feeder.
Engage & Learn
Through the internet, you can explore the world, boosting your mental fitness and your overall well being. Whether you decide to delve into a new language, enjoy a musical instrument, or investigate nature, you’ll be enhancing your lifestyle and improving your health. Choose something that appeals to you, and dive in!