Advice Independent Living

How To Reduce TV Time to Protect Cognitive Function

Senior man playing guitar

A new study notes that too much time in front of the TV may not be the best strategy for healthy aging.

For people over age 50, consuming more than 3.5 hours of daily television may contribute to declines in cognition and language. And it appears that people who watch more TV may experience even more deterioration in verbal memory, researchers observed.

Why is TV so bad for our brains?

In the study, participants shared with researchers the number of hours they spend in front of the TV each day. In addition, participants underwent periodic tests of their reasoning and thinking skills. For those who watched less than 3.5 hours of TV each day, researchers couldn’t detect any deterioration in brain function.

However, when participants watched more, their risk of struggling in language tests — administered six years later — increased. The worst problems occurred in individuals who consumed more than seven hours of TV each day.

Experts say there may be a few reasons that excessive TV watching has such a negative impact on brain health. Quickly changing sounds and images, along with the passive nature of watching, may lead to a brain that remains alert but is less focused, experts say. In addition, some genres of TV programming can induce stress, which has been linked to reduced brain health.

Another problem with TV viewing may be that it substitutes for activities that could help increase cognition, language and other brain-related skills. The antidote? Consider balancing your TV watching with other activities.

Enjoy stimulating entertainment options at The Commons in Lincoln

Instead of watching TV, why not try some brain-boosting activities? Research has found that lifelong learning can have significant benefits for older adults. To engage in lifelong learning, choose activities that help you further your knowledge about the world and experience new things, which can help keep your brain sharp.

To continue educating yourself and stretching your mind, you can choose to join classes — either in person or online. You also can attend lectures, visit museums or even chat with interesting people who have different life experiences to share. When you take time to get together with others, the social engagement also can provide benefits, including the potential for better cognitive functioning.

At The Commons in Lincoln, you’ll enjoy a variety of fun, inspiring and thought-provoking activities to help keep your brain engaged. The many activities offered at The Commons in Lincoln include classes, trips to Boston attractions and the symphony, workshops and events, and a wide range of wellness-oriented programming. You also can participate in any number of resident-run clubs and groups focusing on interests as diverse as gardening, astronomy and games.

Whether you head out to join in an activity or stay in to read a good book, you can choose from activities that suit your preference every day at The Commons in Lincoln. To learn more about everything we offer, please contact us.

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