As a JABA FISH volunteer at Jackson-Via Elementary School in Charlottesville, I can agree with the “cobweb removal” statement! Helping an ESL student with math is certainly a brain fitness exercise — and I have to say that I am learning “strategies” for solving word problems that I had never thought of before.
I encourage everyone who can to add some community service to their scheduled activities. You will be so glad that you did!
Volunteering Helps You, Too – in Your Brain
Worried about keeping your brain sharp as you age? Maybe you should try volunteering.
A small Johns Hopkins study suggests that the mental stimulation of participating in a volunteer program could help delay or reverse declining brain function.
Researchers studied 17 women, age 65 or older, at high risk for cognitive decline based on a mental-state test. Eight of the women signed up as volunteers for Experience Corps, a program that involves seniors in helping children in urban public schools. At the study’s start and again after six months, all the women’s brains were scanned using MRI technology. After their volunteer stints, the Experience Corps women showed improvements in brain function compared with the non-volunteering control group. As one participant put it, volunteering “removed the cobwebs from my brain.” – Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences