70 is the new 30, why older people are out performing peers

’70 is the new 30′ it does seem hard to believe that we have the ability to out perform a peer 40 years our junior, but that is what a recent survey from Finland recently established. They found that the physical and cognitive health of adults today is significantly better than it was 30 years ago. Positive changes in nutrition, healthcare, education and an improved working life have contributed to superior functionality (according to the research).

“the most important underlying factor behind the cohort differences in cognitive performance was longer education.”

Kaisa Koivunen (researcher)

According to author Daniel Levitin (Author of The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientists Guide to Ageing) its not that 70 or 80 year olds are the same as 30 year olds physically but mentally the older person has distinct advantages including impulse control, ability to get along with others and structured decision making

70 new 30
70 is the new 30

Many of us believe memory declines rapidly with age, but this is a common myth and comes from our lived experience. 20 year olds forget some thing and think they need more sleep where as the older person worries that they have early onset Alzheimers.

The part of the brain crucial to memory continues to grow and develop, the adult hippocampus, (part of the brain crucial to memory storage), grows 700 new neurons a day on average, and there seems to be no decline in that number with normal ageing.

Levitin goes on to state that as you get older moods tend to stabilise and older adults are better and cooperating with others this comes with chemical changes to the ageing brain towards understanding, forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance.

“The results suggest that our understanding of older age is old-fashioned. From an aging researcher’s point of view, more years are added to midlife, and not so much to the utmost end of life”

Key Takeaways:

  • 70 is the new 30 – We are fitter and healthier in our 70s than our predecessors
  • For most the part of the brain associated with memory continues to develop with age, the opportunity is to ensure we use it wisely
  • As you get older your moods are more likely to stabilise potentially making you easier to collaborate with and a better employee.
Synopsis of an article from Forbes
Why Older People Are Getting Younger And Outperforming Their Peers From 30 Years Ago
by Bryan Robinson Ph.D.
Published: 28th September

Koivunen, K., et al. (2020). Cohort Differences in Maximal Physical Performance: A Comparison of 75- and 80-Year-Old Men and Women Born 28 Years Apart, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, , glaa224.

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