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DR. ANDREW WEIL SUGGESTS A WORKOUT FOR YOUR BRAIN

Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 11/25/2008

Learning a language is a perfect challenge to take on after you've retired. Some people have a natural ear for language and learn quickly, but anyone who can hear and imitate sounds can learn a new language at any age.

Here's the key:  You don't have to master the language.  Dr. Weill believes that it's the attempt to learn--the effort you've made--that provides the benefit.

This type of learning draws on "fluid intelligence," the ability to stay focused and manage your attention while at the same time, you're ignoring irrelevant information. Fluid intelligence is one of the first aspects of brain function to suffer as age takes its toll on the mind.

Dr. Weill also believes that learning another language should be better than any supplements or "smart drugs" that are designed to stave off cognitive decline.  And he takes his own medicine:  He speaks Spanish, used to speak German. He's determined to brush that up and one day learn Japanese.

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