The point of being a super ager is not about just living a long, long life. It’s about living a long and healthy life despite what our DNA may dictate (which is surprisingly less than you think). It’s about the ability to keep doing the things that we love and holding on to the capacity to live well all the way to the end.
Yes, we will age whether we admit it or not, whether we like it or not and whether we would prefer to reverse the process.
“Living well is being able to keep doing the things you love to do. Aging well is preserving the capacity to live well — right up to the end.” David Katz, M.D. and author of “Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well”
So how do you get to be a Super Ager?
First, let’s trash the myth of “it’s all in my genes.” A group of recent studies shows that our genes only account 20-30% of the reason people live past 86. In fact, the remaining percentage depends on lifestyle choices. The good news, a large part of Super Aging is under our control.
Here’s more good news! There is clear evidence that starting healthy habits in your 50s and 60s increases your chances of a longer, healthier life even showing benefits in the 9th decade. It truly is never too late to start. The point being…to start!
At Northwestern University, researchers in the “Super Aging” study of men and women in their 80s and 90s have discovered much more brain mass related to attention and learning than most people their age. They found that dementia is largely preventable, for the most part, as heart disease.
Younger brains, which are walking around on younger bodies are what Super Agers have in common. While there is much more to learn about Super Aging, it really means going back to the basics that we know will create a healthy vital life.
Getting more sleep means having more energy to exercise. Getting more exercise means having more vitality to get out and share ourselves. Getting more “good food medicine” means less disease processes as we age. Not smoking (this one is obvious) however, besides being socially acceptable, having good breath and saving more money, means healthy heart and lungs.
Personally, being a lifelong learner fueled by curiosity followed by lots of pondering on it’s relevancy to my life, then sharing these ideas and thoughts with good friends and family leads the way to keeping my brain alive.
Pick one and start to improve in that area. Each habit will support the next one and before you know it, you will be a Super Ager!