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- 1 What Is A SuperAger and Can You Become One?
What Is A SuperAger and Can You Become One?
A person who is at least eighty years old and has the memory and cognitive ability of someone who is at least thirty years younger is referred to as a superager, sometimes known as a super-ager. This population is much below the “normal” age range for memory ability.
While there is probably a biological component to why a person does or does not become a superager, lifestyle choices can increase a person’s likelihood of becoming one. Research on the brain differences of superagers is currently ongoing.
The History of SuperAgers
The Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease1 at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University is where the term “superager” was first used. According to their definition, superagers are “adults above the age of 80 who have the memory of people who are at least three decades younger.” In the year 2008, they came up with the phrase.
The Mesulam Center is presently conducting research to identify the genetic, brain, and lifestyle components that contribute to a person’s superior memory retention compared to peers. They use paper surveys, blood tests, brain donations, brain imaging, and other research methods.
Signs of Being a SuperAger
One primary indication of being a superager is that you remember more than people in your age group, at least from a layperson’s perspective. But from a scientific standpoint, there are many variables that impact whether a person is a superager. The following applies to superagers who are over the age of 80:
- When visualised, their brains appear twenty to thirty years younger than their actual age.
- Their brains have not atrophied, also known as shrunk, in ways that are typical for people their age because they resist cortical atrophy.
- Compared to their colleagues, who lose 2.24% of their brain volume annually, they only lose 1.06%.
- They have more Von Economo neurons, a particular type of neuron, in their brains.
- Their brains’ fibres do not tangle in the ways that Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by.
Can You Become a SuperAger?
There is no question that some aspects of being a superager are likely biological, despite the fact that research into superagers is still ongoing. It’s reasonable to assume that some people’s bodies and brains are just predisposed to resist specific signs of ageing better than others, similar to how some people are born with higher intelligence than others.
The Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease does believe that lifestyle factors play a role in the retention of brain cells, even though it is likely that becoming a superager has a genetic component. Let’s look at their recommendations for keeping your brain as healthy as possible as you age.
How to Improve Your Memory as You Age
You can adopt a variety of various lifestyle practises to raise your likelihood of becoming a superager. The good news is that these are all healthy lifestyle choices to make in general, even though there is no way to ensure that you’ll adopt any of them. They may boost your happiness, fitness, and overall well-being in addition to enhancing your memory and brain function.
Challenge Yourself Mentally
Those who aspire to become superagers would do well to “become comfortable being uncomfortable.” It’s crucial to engage in activities outside of your comfort zone in order to maintain your brain healthy. Because of our brains’ neuroplasticity, which allows them to adapt as we learn new things, learning new things can really cause your brain to physically change.
Of course, there’s nothing terrible you have to do to challenge your brain. The objective is to be able to perform things that make you uncomfortable rather than miserable! There are numerous ways to maintain your brain healthy through enjoyable hobbies. You could choose to mentally push yourself in the following ways:
- Discover a new language.
- Attend a lesson in person or online.
- Play board games, word games, or puzzles.
- Break the mould by using different errand-running routes, for example.
- Pick up a skill like knitting or crocheting.
It’s no wonder that superagers tend to be active because exercise is proven to improve both physical and mental health. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, you aren’t required to do it. While not callisthenics or weightlifting, some other beneficial activities that still increase heart rate include:
- Swimming or other water activities
- Taking the stairs instead of an elevator
Eat Vital Nutrients
Similar to how most people are aware that staying active promotes longevity, most people are also aware that eating healthfully promotes a longer, more nourished life. Your brain benefits especially from some nutrients, while others may hinder its performance. These foods have been demonstrated to assist in preventing brain deterioration:
- Leafy green vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, and kale
- Fatty fish
- Coffee and tea
Be Social and Enjoy Life
“SuperAgers tend to report good social interactions with others,” the Northwestern team writes. In fact, maintaining social relationships as you become older is excellent for your brain, and face-to-face interaction with others is healthy for your brain. In general, maintaining relationships with people is a great choice for your mental health because it can help fend off loneliness and sadness.
Superagers know to focus on more than just a healthy lifestyle—they also have fun. They also enjoy time with friends. When alcohol is consumed in moderation and not excessively, the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease is decreased. Find sure to make time in your schedule for whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Also, if you like it That’s even better when done with a friend.
A Word From Verywell
It’s common to experience cognitive decline as you get older, and women might start to notice it sooner than men do. If you’ve noticed that your memory isn’t what it used to be, you should consult a doctor to rule out conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.