Older people looking to boost their brain power have long been told to eat their greens or do a cryptic crossword.
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But there may now be a more interesting way to improve brain function – having sex more often.
Those who kept their love life going into their twilight years were found to have improved fluency and spatial skills, which could make everyday life easier in older age, a study by Oxford and Coventry universities found.
Sex is believed to release the “happy hormone” dopamine into the brain, helping with complex mental tasks.
Lead author Dr Hayley Wright said: “This study shows that more sex at an older age is linked with better brain power, suggesting it could potentially help to keep the brain a bit sharper as we age.”
Researchers at Coventry University previously found having sex improved older people’s memory – but did not look at how often participants had sex.
The updated study, published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B, asked 73 people aged between 50 and 83 how often they had sex in the previous 12 months – never, monthly or weekly.
In tests of their brain power, those who had sex weekly scored two percent higher than those who had sex every month.
And their cognitive abilities were four percent better than those who had been celibate for the past year.