You’ve probably already noticed that age really is just a number, but while it’s simply not possible to permanently hold back the hands of time, we can all observe that some people age better than others. According to recent research, sticking it to Father Time is all about motivation when it comes to feeling mentally and physically younger. M&F takes a closer look at the science behind super agers.

Super Agers are people over 80 that have either the physical or memory ability of a person that is 20 to 30 years younger. It is, of course, “normal” for us to suffer mental and physical decline as we age. For one thing, both our muscle and brain mass tends to decrease as we get older, but a study carried out more than a decade ago established that Super Agers are a genuine phenomenon, and that people who were found to be in the better mental bracket had a thicker cerebral cortex than their same age peers.

Then, there are physical signs of Super Aging too. In 2015, athletes in the Norwegian Senior National Games had an average age of 68, but their collective estimated biological age came in at just 43. Among other signs such as increased muscle mass, physical Super Agers display better VO2 max scores, displaying greater fitness levels. It seems then, if you want to become a Super Ager, now is always the best time to start.

How to Become a Well-rounded Super Ager

Motivating yourself by constantly being challenged is the key to being a well-rounded Super Ager. On the mental side of things, always seek to train your brain. “We found that SuperAgers not only perform similarly to young adults on memory testing, they also do not show the typical patterns of brain atrophy in certain regions,” explains a 2016 study, leading many people to suggest that keeping the brain active is a great way to hold off its decline. While influential factors such as genetics and other biological markers are still being studied in terms of predicting Super Agers, it is thought that it’s very much a case of “use or lose it” as relates to maximizing our health as we age.

The difficulty though, is that challenging ourselves as we age is often more difficult than we might think. One theory is that as we get older, we develop a “positivity effect” that tends grow as we mature. Being young is about taking risks and experimenting, whereas getting older is often though of as a time for winding down and doing less risky things, keeping us in an effortlessly positive state.

This is why pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, at any age, is so important, unless you just want to sit in a chair and lose all of your powers. Find a mental pastime that works for you. If you don’t like word games, try numbers, or test your memory, just make sure you stay mentally active. Remember; If you don’t use it, you may lose it.

Super Agers Can Be Better in Pairs

Want to improve you mental capacity but don’t like playing games alone? No worries! Find a partner to play chess or cards with. Social networks have been shown to help us age better too!  The need to push yourself is just as essential for becoming a physical Super Ager, and the good news is that you don’t have to bungee off the side of a cliff to get your heart rate up. Try walking or jogging instead, and continue to challenge your limits in a way that suits you. Hate running? Try lifting weights! But always stay motivated to improve your mortality. You can’t control your genetics, but you can find longevity through staying sharp.

 

Aging,Health Studies,Healthy Aging,Medical Studies,Over 40,Over 50

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