The School Sisters of Notre Dame nunnery in Minnesota on average, actively live into their nineties. Many live over one hundred with very few cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The nuns were featured in Life magazine in 1994 doing daily activities such as teaching, challenging each other with vocabulary quizzes, doing puzzles and debating about current issues.
Professor David Snowden of the University of Kentucky examined 100 brains donated at death by the nuns in Mankato and other School Sisters locations across the country. He found many more neural connections than the average regardless of age, giving them not only more thinking power but also the ability to reroute input when the brain is damaged by stroke or disease, counteracting the debilitating effects on the brain and keeping the nuns healthier and more active for years.
Were these women born with more neural connections? Not likely since they enter the nunnery from all over the country. The answer is more likely that their brains continue to develop with activity. “Use it or lose it” could be their motto.
BRAIN TIP: Exercise your mind every day as you should exercise your body. Here’s a website where you can find brain teasers (it’s too bad they allow annoying banner ads…use your brain to ignore them): http://www.brainvista.com
New studies are proving that the brain does not deteriorate with age unless it is idle. The only portion of the brain that has been proven to deteriorate with age is the language section, meaning it is harder to learn foreign languages as we grow older.
In addition, the brain has amazing powers of regeneration. Where once we thought people had permanent damage after strokes, medical researchers are finding miracle recoveries when working to activate the remaining healthy portions of the brain.
Yet we first have to start by believing this is true. Merely living longer doesn’t determine the quality of your life. You have the choice of slowing or increasing your aging process by how you think and behave.
Today the average age of Americans is 75. Scientists predict that in ten years, we will push the average age to 120! Are you going to waste away those years feeling old, or will you seek to feel as fully alive as possible?
Every day you choose to think and act old or young. The energy you project has no age. You can still feel like a child, dance like a teenager, create like a young adult no matter what your birth certificate says. The secret is in daily practice. Keep your body and mind active and don’t believe in those lies about aging. You might find yourself growing younger every day.