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Active mind, body key to delaying Alzheimer's disease

A growing amount of research is providing baby boomers with a number of ways they can stave off the development of Alzheimer's disease. According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, scientists have discovered the a combination of both mental and physical activity can delay the onset of the disease by up to 10 years.

You don't have to do too much to reap the benefits, either. Wolf D. Oswald, a professor of psychology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, says that walking two kilometers a day (a little over a mile) and keeping the mind limber through any means are all it takes.

"This includes going back to doing mental arithmetic, memorizing things, trying out new activities and doing volunteer work," he told the website.

The studies that buttress his claims come from a number of different countries including Canada, the United States and Germany. One in particular found that while mental exercises are a plus, continued social interaction may be the most effective way to delay the disease.

"The most stimulating thing for people is other people," Markus Preiter, head of the Memory Clinic at Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg, Germany, told the publication. "Our brain is a social organ, and contact with others stimulates us and keeps us mentally fit."

It also seems that staying mentally active can do more than potentially delay Alzheimer's disease as well. A recent Gallup poll found that Americans over the age of 65 with a college degree were more likely to be emotionally healthy than those without one.

The emotional well-being is based on an index that weighs a number of particular feelings. Of adults over 65, about 35 percent were deemed to be emotionally healthy . Approximately 43 percent of those with a college degree scored above 90 on the index, and that number rose to 46 percent for those with a post-graduate degree.

Whether looking to boost your emotional well-being or keep your mind active, many retirement communities provide easy access to lifelong learning institutions. Once such program offers homeowners at Del Webb Celebrate access to the Mary Washington ElderStudy program at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The diverse curriculum has plenty of classes that will appeal to everyone and keep you learning throughout your second half.

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