Live Well: Superaging Requires Mental, Physical Sweat

January 17, 2017; Updated: Today at 4:20 am

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, TheGazette.com

As much as it pains me to write this, none of us is getting any younger.

You may fool the world with Botox injections and laser away all of Mother Nature’s fine etchings, but the real testament to how well you age is inside your noggin. How’s that 3-pound gray lump faring? Is it trucking along, spewing out memories and facts on cue, or regularly sputtering out and seemingly unable to hold onto anything?

Maybe you saw the New York Times article from Dec. 31 with the headline “How to Become a Superager” by Lisa Feldman Barrett. The post jumped out of my Facebook feed and scored one click from yours truly. I’ve become enamored of any such advice, especially as I find myself forgetting words here, there and everywhere, reminding me of former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins’ wonderfully apt poem “Forgetfulness”: “Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.”

And even as my ineptitude at remembering people’s names has expanded to include those of folks I regularly interact with, I’m determined to grapple with Father Time. In the most peaceful way possible, of course.

In Barrett’s article, she wonders why some people are found to be “superagers,” a term fabricated by neurologist Marsel Mesulam, and some people are not. Superagers are folks whose memory and attention isn’t just above average for their age but is on par with a healthy, active 25-year-old.

According to the study by Barrett and her colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital, two areas of the brain are critical in aging well and they both reside in the emotional regions, such as the midcingulate cortex and the anterior insula.

 

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