There is a new super buzz word in town. Way back when, there was the supermarket and then the supermodel. In more recent times we have filled our diets with superfoods. But make way all you super suffixes: there is a new super in town. Introducing: the SuperAger.
What is a Superager?
A SuperAger is someone aged 80 or older with a memory function that is better than people 20 to 30 years their junior. Essentially the brain of a SuperAger looks decades younger than the brains of their peers.
Studies have shown that SuperAgers have a thicker and larger emotional intelligence region in their cortex. The cortex is the wrinkly, outermost layer that surrounds the brain. As well as a thicker region of the emotional hub of the cortex, SuperAgers also had less twisted fibres in this part of the cortex and more neurones.
How can you become a SuperAger?
This science stuff is all well and good, but how do you become a SuperAger with memory as sharp as a tack? Research is ongoing and early indicators are that physical and mental effort are good protective measures. This means getting the blood pumping and the mind working.
Some research suggests that it is the level of mental effort that really helps in developing a well-aged brain. It is the feeling of frustration and even fatigue in learning a new mental skill or pushing our minds that can help in building brain muscle and discipline. We all know that a morning walk is great for reducing many health risks. It also appears that including mentally challenging tasks into our lives is also important for ageing well.
Is it too late to start?
The earlier a brain can start developing mental rigour the better, but it is never too late to start something new. So take a walk, breathe in the fresh air in the garden and take up something that will give the grey matter a workout too. Regular bouts of strenuous mental effort will help you feel sharp as a tack, outwit those around you, and maybe even make you move faster than a speeding bullet!
Main image: Francis Bautista