Learning is good for our well-being – at all ages. And yet, for many of us, formal learning slows down or stops altogether as we age. Research shows that continuing education has a positive effect on health and overall well-being.
This means the boost we get from learning something new, the satisfaction we feel from solving something and the joy we feel telling someone about a new discovery is not only fun, it’s benefitting our physical and mental health. Learning doesn’t have to be an advanced degree or an expensive college course, either. Learning can be anything you do to delve into something new or challenge your mind.
We’ve all experienced that moment when we forget a name, an address or the title of that old song we used to love. It’s natural to forget things occasionally, but memory loss in aging can also develop into a more serious problem. What if we could help prevent memory loss by learning new things that challenge our brains?
A study from the University of Texas at Dallas tested memory gains in elderly people who completed different tasks over a three-month period. One group did “easy” activities (listening to the radio, simple puzzles, watching TV), while another group actively learned new skills (digital photography, quilting, computer basics). The study showed memory gains in the people who had learned a new skill.1
It’s not a silver bullet, but continuing to learn can help prevent memory loss. Plus, it’s fun.
Reduce stress and stay sharp
Anecdotally, we know that learning new things makes us feel good. But, there’s also research that shows how education influences mood and reduces stress and anxiety.2 Reading, writing and taking online courses are great ways to learn, but anything that is challenging you to think in a new way helps. Try a new sewing pattern, set up a new email account, make art or learn a new language.
The connection between physical activity and maintaining a healthy body is well-documented. But what about maintaining an active mind? Staying mentally active is an important part of brain health. According to a study published in the journal Neurology, people who reported higher levels of intellectual stimulation were able to delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.3 Keeping the brain busy with lifelong learning may not prevent the disease, but it can sure slow it down.
Lifelong Learning from Foresters
At Foresters Financial™, caring for our members and the communities they live in is our core purpose. Knowing the profound impact that continuous learning can have on people’s health and well-being, we launched the new Lifelong Learning member benefit.
Lifelong Learning is an easy-to-use library of online courses that Foresters members can access anywhere, anytime. With a huge selection of complimentary courses that cover a wide range of topics, members can choose courses and set their own schedule. Explore an interest, work toward a personal or professional goal or just have some fun learning something new.
The Lifelong Learning benefit offers all kinds of learning opportunities, including:
- Seniors who want to learn computer skills to connect with family, friends or grandkids
- Those looking to enhance skills for a new job or to apply for a new role
- Newly married couples, newly graduated students or first-time homebuyers who want to learn more about financial planning
- Professionals and those active in the community who are interested in improving their business communication skills
- Writing classes for anyone who writes, for work or pleasure
- Health and wellness classes
Foresters members, log in to your MyForesters account to give Lifelong Learning a try.
For some great, simple tips on setting realistic goals, avoiding distractions and using appropriate technology for your learning, see “Make Learning a Lifelong Habit” from Harvard Business Review.
Descriptions of member benefits that you may receive assume that you are a Foresters Financial member. Foresters Financial member benefits are non-contractual, subject to benefit specific eligibility requirements, definitions and limitations and may be changed or cancelled without notice.
Foresters Lifelong Learning Program is powered by The Training Company Inc. The program is available to eligible members only.
Le Programme d’apprentissage continu de Foresters est fourni par The Training Company Inc. Le programme est offert aux membres admissibles seulement.
419595 CAN/US (02/21