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Stay mentally active

secrets to long life

The human brain has billions of neurons that transmit information. Each time you learn something new, your brain rewires itself, says Kravetz. "When a person is working, they are forced to learn new stuff every day."

"A lot of times when people retire, within a couple of years they die because they lose a sense of purpose," says Lombardo.

An active mind can better withstand the ravages of time and help you avoid dementia, Alzheimer's disease and the negative effects of strokes. Keeping your mind in good shape may mean delaying your retirement, transitioning into part-time work or working as a volunteer in your later years. An alternative is to constantly learn new things by reading, working crosswords puzzles or playing strategic board games, such as chess. The mind is like a muscle, so don't let yours get flabby.

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