“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~Sophia Loren
What’s a Super-Ager and Why Would You Want to be One?
What makes someone a super-ager? What is the science behind it? Is there a common thread they all share? So many questions and so few answers.
Several studies have been conducted around the world to answer those questions, and some super-agers have shared their insights in interviews. And that’s what you’ll learn today – what we know about super-agers, how you can be one, and what you need to look forward to. It isn’t quite as simple as Mark Twain famously said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” But it might be less complicated than you think.
What is a super-ager?
Super-ager is a term used to describe men and women ages 70 and above who, despite their chronological age, have the mind and body of someone decades younger. While their counterparts see a decline in their minds and/or bodies as they age, super-agers seem to be holding steady.
When people think of super-agers, they may think of people like the men and women living in Okinawa, Japan. Studies have been conducted on how and why Okinawans surpass other communities and live well into their 100’s. The findings may not surprise you. Okinawans and other centenarians have things in common that help them maintain healthy minds and bodies. Some of those commonalities include the following.
In 2018 there were over 93,000 people over the age of 100 living in America. That’s 0.02% of people considered elderly. Those numbers are growing by leaps and bounds. It seems that living a long and healthy life is possible, and with some intentionality, you can increase your likelihood of being a super-ager too. And as Oprah Winfrey says, “Every year should teach you something valuable; whether you get the lesson is up to you. Every year brings you closer to expressing your whole and healed self.”
Why Would You Want to be a Super-Ager?
“Aging happy and well, instead of sad and sick, is at least under some personal control,” says psychiatrist George E. Vaillant. “We have considerable control over our weight, our exercise, our education, and our abuse of cigarettes and alcohol. With hard work and/or therapy, our relationships with our spouses and our coping styles can be changed for the better. A successful old age may lie not so much in our stars and genes as in ourselves.”
In other words, being a super-ager isn’t just about the number of candles on your cake. It’s about the quality of your daily life. Super-agers seem to defy aging and stay mentally and physically sound, making their twilight years richer, healthier, and more independent.
You may not have the ability to stop time, but you can certainly control how your mind and body respond as you grow older. Being mentally and physically fit can help with a number of issues, including the following.
- Mental acuity
- Access to your social circle
These healthy abilities enrich life and make it easier to remain independent, free from pain, and experience less isolation as you age.
“We are not victims of aging, sickness, and death,” Deepak Chopra says. “These are part of the scenery, not the seer, who is immune to any form of change. This seer is the spirit, the expression of eternal being.”
Can Anyone be a Super-Ager?
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty,” Henry Ford once said. “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
While factors like genetics do play a part in achieving super-ager status, anyone can take actions to increase their likelihood of aging more healthily. It may not surprise you to find that many of the activities that lead to super-ager status are the same activities.
- Prevent illness
- Reduce stress
- Boost immunities
- Increase personal happiness
So, yes, anyone can do their part to be a super-ager. But, even if you don’t live to be 100, taking steps to ensure your life is healthier and happier will certainly make every year you have the best it can be.
Celebrity Advice on Super-Aging Gracefully
“Here’s what I know,” Patti LaBelle said when asked for advice on getting older. “I’m a better person at fifty than I was at forty-eight … and better at fifty-two than I was at fifty. I’m calmer, easier to live with. All this stuff is in my soul forever.”
LaBelle added: “Just don’t get lazy. Work at your relationships all the time. Take care of friendships, hold people you love close to you, take advantage of birthdays to celebrate fiercely. It’s the worrying — not the years themselves — that will make you less of a woman.”
“There is also this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless,” says Jennifer Aniston. “I think what I have been witness to is seeing women trying to stay ageless with what they are doing to themselves. I am grateful to learn from their mistakes, because I am not injecting shit into my face. I see them and my heart breaks. I think, ‘Oh, God, if you only knew how much older you look.’ They’re trying to stop the clock, and all you can see is an insecure person who won’t let themselves just age.”
“Aging isn’t about getting old it’s about LIVING,” according to Cameron Diaz, who adds, “Learning that you can age well, will actually help you to age better… let’s start celebrating and living an engaged life, and stop punishing ourselves for not looking a certain way, and instead holding ourselves accountable for actually taking care of ourselves inside first, knowing the results on the exterior will be a shining side effect.”
Are you a super-ager, or are you planning to be? Let us know in the comments section and let’s discuss it.