Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Aging Neurosci., 11 March 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00040

Measurable benefits on brain activity from the practice of educational leisure

Carmen Requena* and Verónica López
  • Chair “Aging at all Ages”, Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de León, León, Spain

Even if behavioral studies relate leisure practices to the preservation of memory in old persons, there is unsubstantial evidence of the import of leisure on brain activity.

Aim: This study was to compare the brain activity of elderly retired people who engage in different types of leisure activities.

Methods: Quasi-experimental study over a sample of 60 elderly, retired subjects distributed into three groups according to the leisure activities they practised: educational leisure (G1), memory games (G2), and card games (G3). Applied measures include the conceptual distinction between free time and leisure, the test of the organization of free time measuring 24 clock divisions, and EEG register during 12 word list memorizing.

Results: The results show that the type of leisure activity is associated with significant quantitative differences regarding the use of free time. G1 devotes more time to leisure activities than G2 (p = 0.007) and G3 (p = 0.034). G1 rests more actively than the other two groups (p = 0.001). The electrical localization of brain activity indicated a reverse tendency of activation according to the bands and groups.

Discussion: Engaging in educational leisure activities is a useful practice to protect healthy brain compensation strategies. Future longitudinal research may verify the causal relation between practicing educational leisure activities and functional brain aging.

Keywords: leisure activities, old people, EEG, beta and alpha bands, compensation, retired people

Citation: Requena C and López V (2014) Measurable benefits on brain activity from the practice of educational leisure. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6:40. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00040

Received: 09 October 2013; Paper pending published: 09 January 2014;
Accepted: 23 February 2014; Published online: 11 March 2014.

Edited by:

Hari S. Sharma, Uppsala University, Sweden

Reviewed by:

Odete A. B. Da Cruz E Silva, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal
Rongqiao He, Institute of Biophysics – Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Copyright © 2014 Requena and López. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Carmen Requena, Chair “Aging at all Ages”, Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain e-mail: mcreqh@unileon.es

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