Friday, 12 March 2010

Think younger stay younger

This has always seemed instinctively correct but some recent research now backs this up. 
Research from Purdue University in the United States, published in The Journal of Gerontology, has found that feeling that you’re younger than you are can make a big difference to your mental abilities.
 
"How old you are matters, but beyond that it's your interpretation that has far-reaching implications for the process of ageing," said Markus H. Schafer, a doctoral student in sociology and gerontology who led the study.
"So, if you feel old beyond your own chronological years you are probably going to experience a lot of the downsides that we associate with ageing. But if you are older and maintain a sense of being younger, then that gives you an edge in maintaining a lot of the abilities you prize."

Markus Schafer and his co-author, Tetyana P. Shippee, a research associate on the 'Aging and Life Course' at Purdue University, compared people’s attitudes and their belief in their mental abilities over a ten year period. For the National Survey of Midlife Development in the USA, almost 500 people aged between 55 and 74 were surveyed about ageing in 1995 and again in 2005.

  At the beginning of the study participants were asked what age they felt most of the time. Most replied that they felt around 12 years younger than their real age. So what difference did the next 10 years bring? 
"We found that these people who felt young for their age were more likely to have greater confidence about their cognitive abilities a decade later," Schafer said. "Yes, chronological age was important, but the subjective age had a stronger effect.

"What we are not sure about is what comes first. Does a person's wellness and happiness affect their cognitive abilities or does a person's cognitive ability contribute to their sense of wellness. We are planning to address this in a future study."
   

Thinking young is easier said than done, especially if the wear and tear of age has left its mark on us physically. Aches, pains and medication have a habit of bringing us back to reality.

In our book we quote the Yale University studies which also link with this. They made it quite clear that you can add 7.5 years to your lifespan by thinking positively about age. Some grumpy old people may live to a great age but you have a better chance if you are not!

1 comment:

jenniferarndt01 said...

A great way to stay young is to retire to an active adult community. These resort-style communities offer such things as fitness centers & classes, swimming pools, golf courses, social clubs and even a lifestyle director to help get you started. Staying young is vital both physically and mentally and an active adult community can really help keep you young!