Boosting the BrainAs we age, it can be difficult to stay mentally sharp. Neurologists suggest a variety of ways to maintain cognitive function, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and enjoying brain-stimulating activities like reading or playing brain trainer games.

Another way to hang onto your mental faculties is to learn a new skill.

Researchers know that keeping your mind engaged is the key to preventing cognitive decline. Take up knitting, painting, wood working or crafting. Learn how to garden or cook.

You could even learn a new language!

Doctors have discovered that multilingual people have more efficient brain functioning than people who speak only one language.

A study at the University of Kentucky used MRI to measure the blood flow in the brain of 30 bilingual and monolingual individuals aged 60 to 68 while they completed color and shape identification and assignment tasks. The bilingual seniors worked faster and more efficiently.

What's exciting is that the researchers tested younger individuals, too, and there wasn't a noticeable difference in their performance or efficiency whether they spoke one language or two. This supports the notion that learning a second language when you're older is good for your cognition.

It's never too late to learn a new language, either. Programs like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo make it fun and easy.