How ‘superagers’ stay sharp in their later years

How ‘superagers’ stay sharp in their later years

How ‘superagers’ stay sharp in their later years 150 150 icnagency

By: Lisa Feldman Barrett | How ‘superagers’ stay sharp in their later years | Neuroscience | The Guardian

A new study shows how strenuous mental and physical exercise keeps your brain firing on all cylinders

When it comes to retirement, experts recommend that everyone do some hard thinking. By this, they mean you should plan your finances responsibly, consider carefully where to live, and decide what colour beach chair to sit in all day as you sip strawberry daiquiris in the sun. But there’s another reason to think hard about these details: hard thinking by itself – a strenuous mental workout – is good for your ageing brain.

My collaborators and I at Massachusetts General hospital and Northeastern University in Boston study people over 65 who have incredible memories for their age, on a par with healthy 25-year-olds. Scientists call them “superagers” (a term coined by neurologist Marsel Mesulam at Northwestern University in Chicago). While nobody knows exactly why some people are superagers, we believe that one common factor is that they engage in demanding mental exercise. They continually challenge themselves to learn new things outside of their comfort zone.

Related: A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ – podcast

Grit is the ability to use your unpleasant feelings as fuel, rather than as a reason to apply the brakes

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