Feeling Young At Heart Tied To Wide Range of Physical and Mental Advantages

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Five advantages of feeling younger than your age — whether you are 24 or 102.

Whatever your actual age, there are a number of advantages to feeling young.

People who feel younger than their age also:

  1. Have better mental health.
  2. Are less likely to be sedentary.
  3. Have improved cognitive function.
  4. Fewer chronic diseases.

Now you can add a lower chance of hospitalisation to the list, according to a new study.

Dr Yannick Stephan, the study’s first author, said:

“How old you feel matters.

Previous research has shown it can affect your well-being and other health-related factors and, now we know it can predict your likelihood of ending up in the hospital.”

The study involved participants aged between 24 and 102-years-old.

The results showed that those who felt younger than their age were 10 to 25% less likely to end up in hospital in the next 2 to 10 years.

Both depressive symptoms and worse physical health helped explained the link between feeling older and being hospitalised

Dr Angelina R. Sutin, a study co-author, said:

“Feeling older is associated with poorer physical and mental health, but also with physiological impairments that may result in illness and health service use over time.”

Dr Antonio Terracciano, a study co-author, said:

“In addition, individuals with an older subjective age are more likely to be sedentary and to experience faster cognitive decline, all of which may precipitate a hospital stay.”

Dr Stephan concluded:

“Taken as a whole, this study suggests that subjective age, along with demographic, cognitive, behavioral and health-related factors, could be a valuable tool to help identify individuals at risk of future hospitalization.

People who feel older may benefit from standard health treatments — for example through physical activity and exercise programs, which may reduce their risk of depression and chronic disease, and ultimately their hospitalization risk.”

The study was published in the journal Health Psychology (Stephan et al., 2016).

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Published: 20 March 2016

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