“ Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Henry Ford
When was the last time you learned a new skill? Have you tried a new musical instrument recently, played with a new computer program, or even tried a new piece of equipment at the gym?
We tend to think of learning as a “phase” we go through as we grow up. Obviously, we spend most of our formative years in a system of learning where we are exposed to new ideas and skills almost daily. Once a person finishes their education, no matter the level, and moves onto working, raising a family and doing all these typical adult things, the learning starts to drop off as we get comfortable in the routine of daily life.
More and more research is being done on our brains, and how the brain changes as we age. Maybe unsurprisingly to most of you, scientists are discovering the importance of continued learning for our brain health. Everything from improved memory skills, to a lower chance or later onset of dementia, it seems that our brains need to stay in constant use in order to stay healthy. Not just normal day-to-day use, but our brains need new stimuli, new problems to work out, new systems to work through etc.
Aside from the brain health aspect there are the social and emotional benefits as well. In a class, people are likely to meet others with similar interests from which new friendships and community bonds are built. Also, learning new skills and overcoming new challenges raises self-esteem and confidence.
When we receive inquiries for our adult classes, all too often we get the question “Am I too old to start training?” It seems cliché but the answer is that you are NEVER too old to try something new! In fact, last spring at our European Tournament I met a very inspiring woman from Spain who had just earned her black belt and she is in her 70’s!!
So, not only are you never too old to try something new, your long-term health, both physical and mental may depend on it! A good goal would be to try to learn at least one brand-new skill each year. What have you been working on this year? What new skill will you learn next year? The Academy offers a fantastic opportunity for physical and mental growth as well as the benefits of friendship and community. Maybe the next skill on your list should be Martial Arts! Come join our amazing Adult students who are challenging themselves to never stop learning!