What are the best years of your life?

Younger people are often told that they are living the best years of their lives, but is it true? Who is to say what someone’s life journey will look like and how it will unfold?

People experience successes, challenges, ups and downs, twist and turns, at every age and stage of life. Not to mention, there are many things to look forward to as we age.  So, to dampen our mindset when it comes to our growth and maturation makes no sense at all and does not serve anyone.

Nonetheless, assumptions about aging, what it is like to grow old, and how older age will affect us, are commonplace. Some of these beliefs and perspectives are simply inaccurate.  As well, if we buy into them, they can cause significant limitations and take years off our life span.

Scientific research, focusing on the effects of learning new skills on the brain, found consistent evidence that older brains retain plasticity. This means that we can grow, change, and modify our brain from conception until our last breath.

We can implement positive changes and strategies such as Brain Fitness activities to support and preserve our brain health, cognitive skills, and well-being.  However, it’s useful to understand and eliminate age beliefs and myths that may interfere with our sense of empowerment and overall health.


In 1968, the term “Ageism”, which describes the systematic discrimination against older people, was coined by Dr. Robert Butler. He equated it to Racism and Sexism during the Civil Rights Movement.

There are two key concepts of Ageism:

1) A socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes, perspectives, beliefs, and stereotypes about aging.

2) A tendency to structure society based on an assumption that everyone is young, thus failing to respond effectively to the real needs of older persons.

Do you notice this in society? Have you come up against this yourself? Many people are so accustomed to it that they do not even realize it’s happening.

According to Becca Levy, PhD, author of Breaking the Age Code, there are four main mechanisms involved in how age stereotypes come to be and then affect our health.

These mechanisms…

1) Operate unconsciously

2) Are internalized in childhood and continue throughout the life span

3) Increase in power as they become more self-relevant

4) Impact our health via psychological, biological, and behavioural pathways

According to Levy’s research, she found that people who held negative beliefs about aging were much more likely to develop plaques and tangles in their brains, which are associated with Alzheimer’s. As well, the part of their brain responsible for memory (hippocampus) shrank three times as fast.

Whereas in study after study, she found that elderly people who held more positive perspectives of aging performed better cognitively and physically than those with more negative perceptions. Plus, they had a better memory, faster mobility, greater recovery, and longer life spans!


Clearly our beliefs shape our thinking, influence our choices, and affect our behaviour. As we repeatedly think, choose, and act in particular ways, we create our reality and impact our current and long-term health.

To get a sense of your own stance on aging and how your beliefs may be supporting or hindering your brain health and longevity, you may like to reflect on these questions:

  • When you think of old age, what comes to mind?
  • Are these thoughts positive or negative?
  • Where did you acquire these beliefs?
  • Would you like to improve your thoughts about aging?

Are your answers what you expected? Are they supportive or detrimental?

Perhaps now is the time to change your understanding and approach to cognitive aging and healthy longevity? North America spends trillions of dollars annually on healthcare costs; yet the health outcomes are consistently far worse than countries that spend much less. Unfortunately, the default result for adults living in North America is the development of at least one chronic disease over the course of their lifetime.

While many are struggling, these issues are easy to address by making improvements to our health with lifestyle changes and implementing new habits, like Brain Fitness!

In fact, more and more people are taking their health into their own hands. We can see by their role modeling of healthy active aging what is possible. These glowing exceptions to declining health with age indicate that a hundred-year-long life may soon be more common than ever.

Ultimately, we are all in the aging process, whether we are 25, 50, 75 or 105 years old!  The sooner we start to care for our brain the better. However, since science is showing us that an older brain may be as sculpt-able and modifiable as plasticine, starting at your current age will yield beneficial results.

Best of all, the practices that increase plasticity in adult brains are surprisingly simple and common life hacks that we can all apply. This is the focus of our Brain Fitness training programs which are full of fun, interactive, and educational user-friendly strategies to support the brains and cognitive skills of people of all ages and stages of life.

To Your Fit Brain & Fit Life,