The latest research has found that having a regular sex life helps to prevent mental deterioration.

According to a report by France’s International Broadcasting Radio on June 23, playing word puzzles or learning new languages has long been thought to help prevent cognitive decline. A recent study, however, suggests that for those aged 50 and over, regular sexual activity is similarly beneficial.

The study was published in the US quarterly Geriatric Medicine Magazine. Researchers from Britain asked 28 males and 45 females between the ages of 50 and 83 to undergo a series of cognitive function tests and asked them how often they had sex each week, month or never. In this test, the participants had to replicate a complex design and draw it from memory.

According to research from Coventry University and Oxford University, those who had sex at least once a week performed better in terms of verbal fluency and visual-spatial ability; more frequent sexual activity may be associated with better cognitive functions. The study also showed that engaging in more sexual activity generally helped improve mental acuity.

Hayley Wright, lead researcher at Coventry University, said in a statement that people don’t like to think of older adults having sex but we must challenge this social concept and explore what effect sexual behavior has on those over 50.

Researchers said the findings are important for maintaining intimate relationships later in life. They will further investigate how biological factors such as dopamine and oxytocin influence the relationship between sexual behavior and brain function to explain the results of this study.