Timing... When We Hit Our Physical and Mental Peaks (WSJ)

It would be interesting to see if rapamycin (and other purported longevity interventions) extend the period (or delay the onset of) physical and mental peaks… I hope someone studies this soon.

From the WSJ:

Elite swimmers peak in their early 20s, powerlifters peak at 35 and equestrians later still, on average. Creativity peaks either very early in our careers or later, depending on how we think. Our ability to quickly absorb facts reaches its zenith in our late teens, while our vocabulary skills crest in our sixth decade.

Economists, sports scientists and psychologists have analyzed Olympic performances and chess matches, as well as thousands of online quizzes to determine the average age when people peak mentally and physically. They are trying to understand how our brain and bodies work and if there are lessons on strengthening each.

People reach their various physical peaks at different times for different reasons, according to the studies. Fast-twitch muscle fibers help with speed and power—think sprinting—and are more prevalent in our muscles when we are young. Slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are those related to endurance, are more prevalent in muscles when we are older.

Physical attributes can play a role, too. Women have less muscle to lose, and peak at younger ages than men in muscle-intense sports like swimming.

For sports like sprinting, which requires speed, power and maximum oxygen consumption, athletes tend to peak in their mid-20s. In endurance sports, such as marathons, the peak is typically reached by 40. In tactical low-impact sports, like sailing and equestrian competition, athletes compete at elite levels in their 50s.

Not all thinking skills peak at the same time or the same age, says Hartshorne, of Boston College. Processing speed—the ability to think quickly and recall information like names—peaks around 18, based on data from standardized IQ and internet-based tests. Crystallized intelligence—the accumulation of facts and knowledge—peaks later. Vocabulary skills peak about 65.