Why the age is no matter in Memory Sports

On 6 March 2010, I was riding on an elevator to the nineteenth floor of the Consolidated Edison Building in New York City, where the 13th Annual USA Memory Championship was being held.  One of the judges for that day’s event was also on the elevator. During our brief ride, this judge asked if I would be one of the judges at this year’s event instead of a participant.  I had been a participant at the four previous USA Memory Championships.  Confused, I inquired as to why I would be a judge.  This person’s response indicated that because of my age, I would no longer be a participant, but a judge.  I was 55 years, 10 months old at the time. This brief exchange got me thinking about memory championships and age.  I began to wonder–why is it that people over fifty years of age seldom participate in memory championships?   I started asking people.  Here are the top three reasons I received, and my response to each reason: 1)    The brain is aging.  When one reaches the age of fifty, one’s brain slows down.  Connections between brain cells are weakening or deteriorating, so one forgets information easily. My Response:  Exercising and eating healthy foods will keep one’s brain functioning well.  Also, memory training keeps one’s brain functioning at a quicker speed, with greater accuracy.  If one exercises, eats healthy...

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