The Optimus Tempus of your Life?

D-eldre1Getting old itself is associated with numerous shortcomings, or are there advantages of being older?

The notion of prime time of life has been changing with the changing era. Some say that life begins at 40, or 60 is the new 50. Is there a way to figure out what is the best age to be? I try to summarize the writings of already published BBC article on this topic, published on 26th May 2015.

When we talk about physical fitness, mid 20s seems to be the best age for sprint running, shot put, javelin or other associated sports activities with a sharp decline after hitting 30s. Professional footballers have their prime time in sports in early 20 years of their life.

For activities of ultra-endurance, athletes in their 30s perform much better with a modest gradual decline with ageing. The differences in the performance could be attributed to different kind of exercise training, genetics, and subsequent conditioning. This may tell us that some sports suit older athletes better.

Read more about senior Olympics –aging and fitness.

Knowledge and Information processing

There is a gradual decline in acquisition of human’s long term and short term memory with the passage of time. For instance, you may have already hit the highs of your memory capability even before starting the university education. When it comes to creativity, then 30-40s probably is the peak as evident by most Nobel Prize discoveries by this age.

However, other brain skills like reading, comprehension, and arithmetic keep on developing with ageing, peaking in middle age –around 50s. Importantly, social reasoning, logics, friendships and our learning about these phenomena continue to improve even in later ages – 60s. As Josh Hartshorne from Harvard put it: “There is no age at which we are best at everything – or even most things”, emphasizing that there may be ups and downs in out mental abilities, just like waves in the sea, with continuous ageing process.

Fountain of youth?

Is there anything that we could attribute to fountain of youth or elixir of youth? The answer is that science has not proven yet that any sort of elixir even exists. However, we do have conjectures that may lead us to the path to find that fountain. Physical activity or exercise training, with much credible evidence, has proven to be associated with higher physical fitness, and protective against many age-related disease notably diabetes and cancer. Of note, exercise training also helps in strengthening of weakening memory.

Javaid NaumanRead also: Mental health and healthy ageing – benefits of exercise

So far, humans have not found a way to reverse the process of ageing. There may not be a specific prime time in one’s life; however, understanding the age-related health and cognitive problems and delaying of disease process and shortcomings related to old age, probably through physical exercise, can make it easier and pleasant to live a fit life.

Javaid Nauman, researcher at CERG

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