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Not Acting Your Age May Be Beneficial

In the past the phrase, “you are only as young as you feel,” has been thrown around as a way for the older generations to retain their youth, but it turns out that this may actually be the truth. Recent studies show that acting younger than your age may keep you alive longer, as those who feel younger than their physical ages have been known to live longer than those who stick to the traditional notions for the chronological order of life. Medical News Today suggests: “The research letter, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, observed a lower death rate in older people who felt 3 or more years younger than their actual age, compared with participants who felt their actual age or more than 1 year older.”

The study was conducted by authors at the University College London, located in the United Kingdom, and they found that the way that you visualize yourself can greatly impact the length of your life and how you live it.

Studying The Phenomenon

Stress, early parenthood, and heart problems or cancer can often be a trigger of self-perceived aging, and can speed up the aging process in reality as well. Isla Rippon and Dr. Andrew Steptoe collected much of their data for this study from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, which was completed between the years 2004 and 2005. This study used over six thousand participants who expressed how they felt about themselves as far as aging went. They were asked, “how old do you feel you are?” and answered accordingly. The results showed that the average age of the participants as 65, but that most of them felt 56. The study group was broken down into three sub groups, with the first feeling 25, the second feeling one year older than they were, and the third feeling three years younger than they were. They then followed mortality rates of those who had participated over the next eight years, and found that those who felt younger had a mortality rate of 14.3%, while those who felt older had a mortality rate of 18 to 24.6%. Healthline states: “The authors believe more research is needed to look at a broader set of health behaviors in those who feel younger than their age. Future studies may look at the health effects of a healthy weight, adherence to medical advice, greater resilience, a sense of mastery, and the will to live.”

Feeling younger or older may help you live longer, but the research team could have their work cut out for them in future experiments regarding other factors that extend or decrease mortality in older people.

How You See Yourself Aging

Often times the way that people see their age is reflected by the society in which they live. For example, if you live in a place where people are getting married and having kids at 40 years of age, then 50 might not seem that old, whereas if the average time for marriage and kids is in the early 20’s, 50 and 60 will seem much older in comparison. Fortunately, in today’s age, the time rates have altered significantly for these markers in life. More and more men and women are waiting until they are in their 30’s or later to marry and have children, choosing careers and education as a more important building block to this foundation. Other men and women are choosing to forego the family experience altogether in favor of more freeing lifestyles. This will ultimately change the way that different societies, particularly in North America, see themselves and view age. The Daily Mail Reports: “Feeling older was a predictor of death even when the researchers accounted for things that could affect death rates, including illnesses, wealth, education, smoking, alcohol intake and physical activity. Older-feeling adults were about 40 percent more likely to die than younger-feeling adults.”

There are many other factors that can change the way that you see yourself, and physical fitness is often one of these. The way that you take care of your body, whether you’re 20 or 60 can play a huge part in how much you can do, and how well you will feel. If you are achy, sore, and unable to participate in activities, you will feel old before your time, whereas those individuals who swim, run, walk, bike, and take part in activities like yoga or pilates will be able to do more, and thus feel younger.

The way that you act is going to be a reflection on the way that you feel about yourself, which might be a reason for this strange connection between age and the way that you see yourself aging. If you feel like you can get up and take on the world each day then you will, but if you feel old and worn out, you’re more likely to sit around doing nothing, and this will age you more quickly.

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