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Aging Gracefully: Exploring Intelligence as We Grow Older

May 24, 2024 5 min read

    Aging Gracefully: Exploring Intelligence as We Grow Older

    Did you know that among individuals aged 65 and above, there's a fascinating statistic that illuminates the enduring capacity for cognitive growth and adaptation? Research shows that not only can the aging population maintain various types of intelligence, but they can also develop new areas of expertise and cognitive skills well into their later years. This revelation is a beacon of hope for many and serves as a cornerstone for understanding how we can age gracefully, keeping our neural pathways working and flexible.

    The Brain's Evolution Over a Lifetime

    The Brain's Evolution Over a Lifetime

    The journey through the stages of life can offer a unique perspective on how our brain functions and adapts. We have outlined an eight-step timeline that roughly traces the evolution of our brain's capacity and functionality. Everyone develops differently and at their own pace so this is meant as an overview of how minds develop and age, not a rule that everyone will follow exactly. 

    1. Infancy (0-2 years)

    In these formative years, the brain's neural networks are in their most flexible state, rapidly forming connections. This period is critical for sensory and motor development, laying the groundwork for future learning and types of intelligence.

    2. Early Childhood (3-6 years)

    As children explore their environment, their cognitive functions blossom. Language acquisition peaks, and the foundation for logical thinking and problem-solving begins to solidify.

    3. Childhood (7-12 years)

    The brain continues to refine its processes, enhancing learning and memory. Children start to grasp more complex concepts and develop a deeper understanding of social cues and relationships.

    4. Adolescence (13-19 years)

    This stage marks significant changes in the brain's structure and function, particularly in the areas responsible for emotion, judgment, and self-regulation. Teenagers start to develop a more sophisticated sense of self and an increased capacity for abstract thought.

    5. Early Adulthood (20-39 years)

    Cognitive abilities such as reasoning, problem-solving, and planning reach their peak during these years. The brain is highly adaptable, capable of learning new skills and managing complex tasks efficiently.

    6. Middle Age (40-64 years)

    While some cognitive abilities may start to decline, crystallized intelligence, which includes accumulated knowledge and experience, remains strong. We may now transform the ideas of diminishing intelligence with aging to telling ourselves: The older I get, the more I realize the value of life experiences.

    7. Senior Years (65+ years)

    Contrary to aging brain news that often highlights decline, many individuals continue to demonstrate cognitive resilience and growth. The focus shifts towards integrating the 9 intelligences. These are:

    • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence 
    • Linguistic Intelligence 
    • Interpersonal Intelligence 
    • Intrapersonal Intelligence 
    • Musical Intelligence 
    • Visual-Spatial Intelligence 
    • Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence 
    • Naturalist Intelligence 
    • Existential Intelligence 

    8. Advanced Age (80+ years)

    With advancements in healthcare, many seniors maintain a high level of mental function. Continued intellectual engagement, social connections, and physical activity contribute to a robust cognitive state.

    Five Ways to Maintain Neural Flexibility

    Five Ways to Maintain Neural Flexibility

    Aging doesn't have to mean a decline in intelligence or the loss of memories. Here are five strategies to keep your brain sharp and pathways flexible:

    1. Lifelong Learning

    Challenging your brain by embracing new skills, hobbies, or languages can stimulate your neural pathways and keep connections thriving into old-age. Engaging in diverse intellectual activities, like learning a new language, a new sport, stimulates the brain and fosters neural plasticity. 

    2. Physical Activity

    Regular exercise, especially aerobic activities, enhances oxygen flow to the brain. This boost in oxygen, and the release of neurotrophic factors encourages the growth of neural connections. A way to maximize oxygen flow to the brain during physical activity, or at any moment of the day, is by utilizing recreational oxygen like Oxygen Plus.

    3. Social Engagement

    Maintaining strong social ties and engaging in meaningful conversations can protect against cognitive decline. Social interactions stimulate our emotional and linguistic intelligences, keeping the brain active and engaged. A way to do this would be through a book club, or a game night once a week or any kind of communal weekly meetups. This way you get challenged every week to get out of your home and connect!

    4. Healthy Diet

    A balanced diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins supports your best brain health. Foods that increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, such as leafy greens and fatty fish, are especially beneficial. Try incorporating more of these in your daily food, it’s as easy as adding some flax seeds to your salad or breakfast.

    5. Mindfulness and Spirituality

    Practices like meditation, yoga, and religious/spiritual practices can help us keep a positive mindset, even as we face the challenges of an aging body and mind. In one study, it was found that there was a 33% decrease in all cause mortality for women who participated in a religious service once per week. In a Harvard study, researchers found that having faith in a higher power led to better health outcomes for patients. Rediscovering our connection to the divine can be a powerful force in our overall wellness. 

    To Round Up

    In weaving these practices into our daily lives, we don’t only enrich our present but also secure a future where our intelligence continues to flourish, regardless of our age. The narrative that aging must accompany cognitive decline is outdated. With a proactive approach to physical health, mental stimulation, and emotional well-being, aging gracefully becomes an attainable and enriching journey.

    Embracing the process of aging, the concept becomes less about lamentation and more about celebration. It's a testament to the resilience of the human brain and its capacity to adapt, grow, and thrive. The key lies in nurturing our minds with the same care and attention we give to our bodies, for instance through adding certain foods to our diets, using Oxygen Plus for increased oxygen flow to the brain, and engaging in social activities. In doing so, we pave the way for a future where each stage of life is met with anticipation and joy, proving that intelligence knows no age limit.

    Let's redefine the narrative around aging and intelligence by fostering an environment that supports cognitive growth and flexibility throughout our lives. Aging gracefully isn't just a possibility—it's a choice that begins with how we live, learn, and love today.



    Oxygen Plus (O+) products, which contain pure recreational oxygen, are intended for recreational, intermittent use only, not to be used as medical nor life-saving products. Prolonged use is defined as uninterrupted intake for more than 8 hours. Any person with any type of health or medical condition should consult their physician prior to the use of O+ products. Since O+ is not a medical product or intended for medical use, it is neither regulated nor approved by the FDA. 

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