A superager is someone between the ages of 60 and 80 who has the memory of someone 20 to 30 years younger.
Even more remarkable, superagers aren’t as rare as you might think.
In a recent Harvard Medical School study, nearly half of the older adults tested performed as well as or better than 18 to 32 year olds.
The key is to keep brain tissue in parts of the cortex from thinning.
After all, the brain is a muscle, too.
The question, then, is how to find the right mental workout.
The answer: it isn’t easy. In fact, the authors of the Harvard study say that forcing yourself to push through unpleasant and difficult situations is exactly what it takes to pump up your brain.
Learning a new language or playing challenging foes in bridge can work. The key is to leave your brain feeling exhausted.
A sudoku or a run-of-the-mill crossword won’t cut it.
“You must expend enough effort that you feel some yuck,” writes Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of the study’s authors.
“Do it till it hurts, and then a bit more.”
Extreme focus on physical tasks can turn back the clock as well, but again, you’ve got to feel the pain.
One superager example: French amateur cyclist Robert Marchand, who set a world record in one-hour cycling – in the over-100 division. Now 105, Marchand appears to be getting fitter as he ages, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology.