When we were children our parents always sought to involve us in activities that helped us develop essential skills and innate talents. Socialization remains to be one of the most crucial. As we get older, the level of interaction we engage in may increase or decrease depending on what stage we are in life. Yet, no matter your age, it's important to remain attentive to the number of social interactions you encounter throughout life. 

Jessica Langbaum, Associate Director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute, says crossword puzzles and apps — like Lumosity — are not enough to enhance your brain’s fitness, especially when combating diseases like Alzheimer's. Langbaum suggests a more interpersonal approach to flexing your brain muscles.

PHOTO: Well And Good 

"Just sitting down and doing Sudoku isn't probably going to be the one key thing that's going to prevent you from developing Alzheimer's disease," Langbaum told NPR. "While you're still in the work force you are getting that daily challenge of multitasking, of remembering things, of processing information."

Through her studies and having a grandfather who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia, Langbaum’s quest for preventative methods went from an intriguing topic to something that would not only educate her, but each member of her family wondering if they were dementia’s next victim. While it is still unclear whether brain training games can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, studies have proven social interactions can be one of the best forms of “mental exercises.” 

"People who have a lot of social interactions, particularly in mid-life, have a lower risk of Alzheimer's dementia in later life. There's something about being around people that's helpful for our brains… If you like crossword puzzles, do them. But try something new. And trying something new that brings you enjoyment is key. Don't do it if you don't like it,”  Langbaum concluded. 

So the next time you think you’re being a chatty-patty, your brain will thank you for giving it strength! 

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mental healthmental wellnesssocial interactionsocializing