Article and comment – The Seven Ages of You

The ‘Seven Ages of You’ is another interesting article that looks at research into getting old. It shows that your body and your mind don’t have to go into decline as you age.

There are 3 major factors that make a difference in protecting you as you age:

  • Physical Activity: Exercise, especially strength training, has a huge impact on your aging process. It has the largest effect on maintaining mobility and function as you age. Strength training is safe and effective, even into your 90’s.
  • Social support: Having regular contact with other people who provide a good social circle and support. Participating in exercise that involves contact with other people has multiple benefits. These include achieving a good levels of physical activity whilst maintaining social support at the same time.
  • Sense of control over your life: Challenging yourself with learning new skills has many benefits. It has been shown to directly encourage positive change in your life. It also maintains and improves brain function in later life. The activity must be challenging enough that it taxes your attention, such as learning a new language or an instrument.
Interestingly, crystallised intelligence (intelligence gained from knowledge) peaks in your 50’s and 60’s. Your knowledge of facts, vocabulary and skills is actually highest in this period in your life.  People of this age are generously needlessly pessimistic about the state of their memory. This is rarely actually the case.
Finally, testing of “wisdom”, the ability to make wise decisions (making decisions in a conflicting situation) continue to get better as you get older. This can be even past the age of 70. However, this is dependent on maintaining social support relationships into older life.
Robson, D (2021) The seven ages of you. New Scientist, 3rd
July 2021, No.3341. P34-39

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