- 85-year-old Carol Siegler has maintained her memory well into old age.
- Scientists are studying the brains and behavior of super-agers to better understand cognitive decline.
- Cognitive neuroscientist Emily Rogalski says that not following a routine can lead to brain health.
Scientists are studying the behavior of people called “superagers”, defined by Northwestern as a rare group of seniors who have the brains of those 30 years younger.
Eating plants and whole foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining social ties are all research-backed ways to stay sharp in old age.
But perhaps surprisingly, super-ager lifestyles can be very different, Emily Rogalski, a cognitive neuroscientist and super-ager researcher, told Insider.Based on anecdotal data. , Rogalski said that some super-agers were “extremely athletic,” while others became more active later in life. According to Rogalski, some super-agers are health-conscious and others admit to eating too many TV-his dinners during their growing years.
Take Carol Siegler, a SuperAger based in the Chicago area, for example. Danger! Twice. Siegler, one of those rare and exceptional seniors, told insiders that he doesn’t follow a strict exercise routine or eat only superfoods.
Siegler says he wakes up at an “average hour” and eats an “average breakfast” of oatmeal, omelets and French toast. The 85-year-old makes coffee first thing in the morning and while she waits for it to brew, she plays Wordle or the New York Times Spelling Bee, she said, but it’s only when she “feels up”. only.
The superager said she’s started embracing a more plant-based diet recently, but she doesn’t say she follows any kind of diet. but no further restrictions.
As for exercise, she started exercising regularly more than a year ago after her husband’s death. Siegler says she attends her yoga class twice a week and uses the hospital gym on other days to do other exercises. She played volleyball in college, but spent most of her adult life watching her husband and her children exercise.
“I don’t have a specific routine. I just do the average things people do,” she told Insider. I don’t eat anything special.”
Sharpening your mind requires not falling into ruts
It may seem counterintuitive that Siegler doesn’t have a strict exercise routine or diet plan, but Rogalski says constant change may be the reason she remains so sharp. I got
“Our brain likes change,” says Rogalski. “Varying things and having variations helps keep us in tension.”
According to Rogalski, the human brain has evolved to keep adapting to the unusual and challenging aspects of our environment. In those days, people had to hear rustling sounds in the woods that signaled snakes and bears.
“Awareness of these differences helps protect us,” added Rogalski.
One common pattern among superagers is their tendency to try new books, play puzzles and mind games, and learn new things.
Ziegler sharpens his brain through puzzles and reading. She bought her three large books of crossword puzzles and won an online competition for her age group. She also enjoys playing her Wordle and Sudoku on her iPad, watching David Attenborough documentaries, and keeping up with the daily news and stock market.
“I like learning things,” she said. “I was always a little kid reading everything there was.”
But again, Ziegler doesn’t have many rules about mental dieting. She keeps a puzzle book by her bed and she sometimes plays with it at night and sometimes she doesn’t.
Siegler encourages other people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle to make frequent changes to their routine rather than following a rigid plan every day. For example, instead of going for a scheduled walk, Ziegler sneaks in an extra step by parking far from the grocery store or library, or loading and unloading a small amount of laundry from the machine.
“If you go into a ditch and stay too long, it becomes a rut, a trench, a tunnel,” Ziegler said. “Turn your head and look around.”