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Home > News > October 2006 > 09 October 2006

LSC research reveals a 'brain training gap'

People are not doing enough to keep their brains healthy according to new research commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The research found that:

* 32 per cent of respondents do not take any exercise to stimulate the brain.

* 68 per cent of people believe ad hoc learning is more beneficial than structured learning with only 17 per cent of people choosing evening classes as a form of brain training.

* 32 per cent of people spend between £20 and £100 per month on their body yet 18 per cent of people spend nothing at all on their brain.

* The majority of people questioned in the survey said they would most like to improve their memory (47 per cent) and concentration (14 per cent) respectively.

Ray Dowd, agenda for change champion at the LSC, said: "The results show that people do not recognise the need to train the brain throughout life, with a lack of awareness about the benefits of structured learning, which is one of the best ways to ensure the brain remains challenged and stimulated at any age.

"Further Education can provide the route to structured learning, and offers a huge choice of courses, which are frequently subsidised and accessible to everyone. Investing in structured learning will keep your brain active and have a positive impact on health and well-being which goes towards maintaining employability and improving the quality of life."

Professor Ian Robertson, Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin, said: "Exercising your brain is essential if you want to stop it from slowly deteriorating.

"Our brains need to be stimulated and challenged through ongoing learning in the same way as our bodies need to be kept fit. This will ensure we see off the ravages of time which contribute to the decline of cognitive power.

"Just as our muscles grow as we exercise them, so do our brains physically strengthen as we learn. Continually refreshing your skills and knowledge is important at every stage and age in life and the benefits that will be seen will last an entire lifetime."

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