Aging Successfully

Studies have shown that people who age “successfully” tend to share certain characteristics and activities that may help keep them sharp. These practices, of which a few are listed below, may help prevent declines in cognition and memory.


Physical activity is strongly linked with lifelong brain health.  Aerobic exercise in particular seems to sharpen memory skills.

Mental exercise, especially learning new things or pursuing activities that are intellectually stimulating, may strengthen brain cell networks and help preserve mental functions.

More formal education is associated with mental sharpness among older persons, possibly because continued learning creates a “neural reserve” of denser, stronger nerve-cell connections.

A sense of control or influence over our lives and those of others—believing that what we do makes a difference—seems to prevent cognitive decline, for reasons that are unclear.