1 Thing You Can Do Today

Start learning a language

More than half the world’s people are polyglots – they speak more than one language. Are you one of them, or do they put you to shame?

You are never too old to learn a foreign language. Yes, it might be easier when you are at school, but people who begin language study in their older years can become as fluent as younger learners – and reap the following mental benefits:

  • You get smarter. How can you not, when you are challenging your brain to recognise, negotiate meaning and communicate in a different language? This skill boosts your ability in other problem-solving tasks too.
  • You delay dementia. Several studies have found that adults who speak two or more languages delay the first signs of dementia by up to five years.
  • Your memory improves. Exercising your brain with a new language improves overall memory – studies show bilinguals are better at retaining names, directions and lists.
  • You boost observation skills. Multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings, more adept at focusing on relevant information and dismissing the irrelevant.

Learning one language makes it easier to acquire others. And you do not have to go back to school. Download one of the many language apps such as Mondly, Duolingo or Babbel and get started in minutes.