Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine say that working out one's brain could help to delay the onset of memory problems that can necessitate dementia care.
Nearly 500 elderly people were followed by the scientists over roughly five years and they reported their daily activities including completing puzzles, playing board games and other hobbies.
They found that memory loss started accelerating rapidly at a later time for those who engaged in more frequent activities, especially those that occurred on a daily basis.
"The point of accelerated decline was delayed by 1.29 years for the person who participated in 11 activities per week compared to the person who participated in only four activities per week," noted study author Dr Charles Hall.
The benefits of adding a smaller number of games or other leisurely pursuits were also noted, with each one prolonging the development of symptoms by more than two months.
"The effect of these activities in late life appears to be independent of education," added Hall.
He hypothesizes that "activities might help maintain brain vitality."