A number of recent studies have shown that learning a foreign language is a great way to keep the brain active and can even help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Being able to speak another language is not only a useful life skill, it also has great benefits for the brain to boot.

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It doesn’t matter how old you are

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Dr. Anne-Marie Connolly, the Director of Everest Language School, explained how her research into language-learning has helped bring to light the cerebral benefits of bilingualism. She discovered that learning a second language later in life, although more difficult, is actually better for the brain. This is because it gives the brain a more rigorous training as opposed to those who pick it up from a young age.

The five stages of brain training through learning a language

Those behind language app Babbel, have shared the five stages of brain training you can undergo when learning a new language, and their impact:

  1. The first stage, learning new words and pinpointing the right word, helps to boost your brain’s creativity and can even increase the density of grey matter in your brain.
  2. After a month of studying 15 minutes per day, your brain helps to filter out ambient sounds and you can already hold a conversation in the language.
  3. Three months of daily exercises improves your brain’s executive function, and goal-oriented behaviour such as planning, prioritising, control, focus, judgment and memory.
  4. After a year, you will be able to perform daily tasks much more easily than someone who is monolingual.
  5. When you are fully fluent, not only can you make the most of your wanderlust by using your new skills abroad, but you are also likely to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by an average of 5.1 years. Another recent study by the University of Montreal suggests that bilingualism can also protect against dementia.

Katja Wilde, Head of Didactics at Babbel, said, “We understand that fitness doesn’t just apply to your body, it’s important to keep your brain fit as well. We see that mental fitness is one of the main reasons users start learning a new language with Babbel. Our course structure features bite-sized lessons that make learning easy and fun, so users get the dual benefit of new language skills while keeping their brain active at the same time.” 

Are you keen to learn a language? Let us know in the Comments section below.