Lifelong Learning: Why Go To Conferences In Midlife?

 

education

 

Lifelong learning is meant to be just that—a lifetime of discovering. Midlife is the perfect time to learn new things.

 

 

I just got back from attending a blogging conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. FitBloggin16 was a three day conference for bloggers who write about fitness, healthy living, and weight loss journeys.  Last year was my first time at a FitBloggin conference. I went primarily because I was an IgniteFitness Speaker at the conference:

While there, I also discovered the history of this conference and how loyal the attendees were. So, when the opportunity came to sign up for 2016, I didn’t have to think too long on whether I wanted to go again.FitBloggin16

Did you know that learning is extremely beneficial for your brain? Each time you are learning something new, your brain grows new cells and builds new connections which has proven benefits for problem-solving and memory skills. Learning can not only help improve cognitive ability and memory function but can also help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia—one of my personal fears. So for that reason, and the fact that I have always loved learning new things (both in a formal setting like school or informally like reading, going to museums and stopping by historical markers on the road), I try to schedule opportunities to add to my lifelong learning several times a year.

“A challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life.” Click To Tweet

Going to conferences is an easy way to continue lifelong learning. You can find them on almost any topic of interest that you are passionate about; close to home or at a travel destination; for one day or a whole week.

Why do I want to spend the time and the money to go to a conference?Why attend a conference

Well, the obvious is to learn new things. Especially with technology and social media, the platforms are always changing. In order to stay current in my field, attending a conference is a great way to stay on top of the latest and greatest.

Similar to learning new things is to advance my current skills. Take what I am already doing and learn how to enhance my techniques. Most times at the conferences I attend, classes are taught by my peers who have mastered an area that I want to improve in.

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” — Albert Einstein Click To Tweet

I pay a lot of attention to the conference location. Sure, it is cheaper and more convenient to choose conferences that are close to home. But I like including as part of my conference experience discovering a new city. Conferences usually have a special hotel rate so I can stay cheaper than if I was traveling on my own. I also don’t mind sharing a room with another conference goer to cut expenses even further.

I really like making new friends and meeting people that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance of meeting is always enlightening. Everyone has a story to tell and meeting someone new can be both interesting and fun. Being at the same conference ensures that everyone has at least one thing in common: an interest in the conference topic. There is a built in common ground to start from with everyone you meet.

How did FitBloggin16 live up to my 4 reasons why I continue my lifelong learning at conferences?

I learned a lot of new things including how to improve my blog SEO (search engine optimization) listening to Jessica Woodbury and hearing Schnelle “Nellie” Acevedo share what she does to be a consistent blogger, things that I can apply to what I am already doing.

There were also talks on how to improve my personal outlook from advocate, author, and runner, Kristin Meekhof Kristin Meekhof

and the editor of the Sunday newspaper insert, Spry Living, Lisa Delaney.Lisa Delaney

I loved participating in the conference workout sessions, learning new exercise routines and using new equipment from professional trainers Valerie Waters and Life Time Fitness.

Valerie Waters- "You're one workout away from a good mood."

Valerie Waters- “You’re one workout away from a good mood.”

I was worn out but it sure felt good to exercise in new ways. Plus, I got to take home some cool new equipment. Win. Win.

A rainbow of great workout equipment

A rainbow of great workout equipment

I had never been to Indianapolis before, so that was one of the draws for me to attend. Before the conference started, I took a tour of the city and learned not only its’ history but a lot of cool facts as well. I am now one of Indianapolis’ biggest fans. Going to the conference in Indianapolis was definitely one of the highlights of attending FitBloggin16.Indianapolis

I enjoyed seeing some of the friends I met at FitBloggin last year and made some great, new friends this year like Kim Love of Kim.Today and Martha McKinnon of Simple Nourished Living.

The FitBloggin16 Conference met all my lifelong learning expectations. Now, it’s up to me to take what I’ve learned and incorporate it in to my daily life so that my brain will continue to grow and stay healthy.

What was the last conference you attended? Will you be going to one soon?