What makes SuperAgers—people with a memory of someone decades younger—so different? What was the daily life of a SuperAger look like and how does it compare or others who are the same age? One such person, 85-year-old Carol Siegler revealed her routine.
Siegler, who has auditioned for the show “Jeopardy!” twice, does not follow an exercise routine nor does she restrict herself to a superfood-only diet.
She is a part of the Northwestern SuperAging Research Program, which comes under the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
“SuperAgers are required to have outstanding episodic memory — the ability to recall everyday events and past personal experiences — but then SuperAgers just need to have at least average performance on the other cognitive tests,” Emily Rogalski, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine, was quoted as saying by CNN.
“It’s important to point out when we compare the SuperAgers to the average agers, they have similar levels of IQ, so the differences we’re seeing are not just due to intelligence,” Rogalski added.
The Chicago-based SuperAger wakes up at an “average time” and has an “average breakfast” such as oatmeal, omelets, and french toast. Also, coffee is the first thing she has in the morning. The octogenarian plays Wordle or Spelling Bee in the New York Times while she waits for it to brew, but only if she “feels like it.”
“I don’t have a specific routine, I just do sort of the average things that people do,” she told Insider. “I go to bed, I don’t take a lot of medication, I don’t have a special diet,” Siegler told Insider.
Siegler has started incorporating more plant-based meals recently, but she would not like to say that she follows any sort of diet. Moreover, the 85-year-old does not keep junk food in the house.
Coming to exercise, Siegler said she started regular workouts more than a year ago. The SuperAger takes chair yoga classes twice a week and utilizes her hospital’s gym to exercise on other days of the week.
Siegler did play volleyball in her youth. However, that did not last later in her life.
Rogalski believes that not following a routine works in favor of Siegler. “Our brains actually like change,” the neuroscientist said. “Changing things up and having some variation helps to keep us on our toes.”
A common theme observed across SuperAgers is their proclivity to keep their mind sharp by reading new books, playing puzzles and mind games, or learning new things, according to Rogalski and other researchers studying the group.
Siegler enjoys playing games like Wordle and Sudoku on her iPad. She also likes watching David Attenborough documentaries and staying up to date with news and the stock market.
“I like learning things,” Siegler said. “I was always the little kid who read everything there was.”
Siegler encourages people to not fall into a routine. “You get into a groove and if you stay too long it’s a rut, then it’s a trench, then it’s a tunnel,” Siegler said. “Just keep turning your head and looking around.”