In the battle to avert memory loss, some simple everyday routines and habits may help protect you.

Healthy older adults who participate in arts and crafts or are socially active in middle and older age were 73 percent less likely to suffer cognitive impairment than those who didn't perform those activities, according to a new four-year study led by researchers from the Mayo Clinic.

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Protective activities were wide-ranging, including painting, sculpting, quilting, sewing, attending movies with friends, going to book clubs or traveling. Those who used the Internet or played computer games were also less likely to suffer cognitive impairment. The average age of the study's participants was 87 and none had memory problems when the study started.

Researchers said the results showed "engaging the mind" may help the brain generate new neurons, the building blocks of memory and cognitive functioning.