WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Can feeling young at heart, or at least younger than your actual age, help older people live healthier and longer lives?
Yes, according to researchers in Germany.
“People who feel younger than chronologically appear to benefit from their younger subjective age in several respects,” explained the study’s lead author, Markus Wettstein.
Surveying more than 5,000 adults and middle-aged seniors, their team found that feeling younger seems to create a protective force field against Stress. And the “connection seems to work through several pathways,” said Wettstein, who was a researcher at the German Gerontology Center in Berlin when the study was conducted.
On the one hand, he noted that reducing stress due to youthful self-perception can translate into tangible physical benefits, including avoiding the threat of inflammation.
Having a youthful sense of self can also shape behavior in positive ways that help keep physical and mental well-being intact.
“Individuals who feel younger [may] participates in health-protective behaviors, “Wettstein said. For example, they may be more physically active than those who do not feel so young.
In addition, perceiving yourself younger can also be a motivating force for self-improvement, which gives people greater “health-improving” confidence in their ability to achieve things successfully and effectively.
The mean age of the study participants was 64 years. All were enrolled in a larger ongoing study on aging and physics and physics mental health.
For three years, they were asked to indicate their age, the stress they were experiencing, and how well they could perform basic daily activities, such as walking, dressing, and / or bathing.
In general, those who reported increased stress also indicated a greater decrease in their ability to perform these routine tasks. And in general, it was found that this association was stronger as the elderly.
But the link between stress and deterioration was noticeably weaker among those who indicated they felt younger than their actual age. In fact, it was found that feeling younger was especially protective than having longer teeth.