As children we are strong. Our bodies are fully oxygenated, and we combat illness at ease. We recover from ailments. We keep getting stronger and more agile as we continue to grow and eventually become young adults full of energy and desire in the world.
Scientists have long known that our ability to think quickly and recall information, also known as fluid intelligence, peaks around twenty years old and then begins to slowly decline. The fact that our brain development is not complete until close to the age of twenty-five years refers specifically to the development of the prefrontal cortex. An algorithmic diagram illustrating the management of emotions and motivation by the limbic system in the adolescent brain.
Athletes usually peak out around twenty-five in terms of speed and endurance. However, serious contenders are able to compensate by capturing the use of a number of contributing factors such as skillset and conditioning. Nevertheless, as we get older, stress eats away at us in more ways than one by gradually attacking our nervous system until we weaken, our chromosomes’ fray and we slowly wear away and all cells experience changes with aging. They become larger and are less able to divide and multiply.
Among other changes, there is an increase in pigments and fatty substances inside the cell (lipids). Many cells lose their ability to function, or they begin to function abnormally. One other big reason we see declines in aerobic (or endurance) athletic performance with age is that our bodies can't use oxygen as effectively. The maximal ability to utilize oxygen (VO2max) is a predictor of endurance performance across ages.
There are several powerful ways to improve athletic performance:
1. Vary workouts.
2. Track & measure performance during training.
3. Make proper hydration a Priority.
4. Dedicate enough time for recovery.
5. Train the brain.
6. Fuel the body the right way.
7. Add some supplements to diet.
Cold showers, meditating, deep breathing, tapping into the alpha brainwave state, can also contribute to better health. In fact, all adults need to see the bigger picture and take heed by making adjustments to lifestyle to develop the brain and body.
We are beginning to tap into ways to improve healthspan and lengthen longevity. We need to keep asking ourselves what we can do to get the maximum out of life!
Prof. Carl Boniface
Prefrontal cortex = The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a central role in cognitive control functions, and dopamine in the PFC modulates cognitive control, thereby influencing attention, impulse inhibition, prospective memory, and cognitive flexibility.
Take heed (idiom) = to pay attention to. “He failed to take heed of our advice.” Heed (syn) mindfulness, care, attentiveness, attention, notice, note, (ant) disregard