Raising performance through mentally and physically challenging activities



I read a fascinating article called How to Become a “Superager” in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times. The article defines the term superager, which is a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam, as those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. This article presented neuroscience research about why some people stay mentally vibrant when they age while others fade. The key difference noted in the research was that the size of certain portions of the brain in superagers was the same as in younger people, while in people who were losing functions the size of their brain was shrinking.

The key question that researchers are interested in knowing is what keeps this portion of the brain from shrinking? While there are many theories being studied on this topic, the article’s author, Lisa Feldman Barrett, stated that the “best answer at the moment is: work hard at something.” She specifically noted that working hard is NOT playing games or exercises. I assume she is referring to programs like Lumosity which are presented as ineffective. Instead, it’s about doing meaningful mental work which Barrett calls “challenging activity.”

The idea behind doing challenging activities is a fundamental part of all of our programs at Cerebyte which ties directly into presenting people with a compelling purpose and guiding them to do the intense work needed to achieve that purpose. We always tell people that our goal is to make them moderately uncomfortable for many months, pushing them to try new, challenging things – an idea that is echoed in the article.

In addition, we also focus in on helping people develop the attitudes and behaviors of life-long learning. By working closely with many people over the years, we know that this improves immediate capabilities during and after our formal programs. More important such activities, if continued, probably contribute to long-term neural health.

Are you interested not only in improving your organization’s immediate performance but improving your mental capabilities for your entire life? If so, please contact Cerebyte to learn more about how to increase your mental capabilities for both now and for your future.

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