Health benefits to learning languages?

I was reading an article on The Guardian titled “Being bilingual may delay Alzheimer’s and boost brain power” and wondered if there were other reports of language learning and health. I found an article from the BBC titled “Being bilingual ‘protects brain'” and an ABC article titled “Learning a Foreign Language Can Help You Live Longer”. Now, these are obviously titles meant to grab people’s attention. But what about reality?

I think learning languages does help the brain. When I took French, my French teacher called French grammar “mental gymnastics” because we needed to think differently from English. I think mental agility and mental exercise is important to keeping healthy. The brain needs to be maintained like the body. However, languages may not be the only way to exercise the brain. I’m sure remembering choreography or music will have the same benefits as learning a language. However the key to any mental exercise is to have fun. If you are having fun learning languages, there is no reason to stop.


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