Olde-Tyme Wisdom Wins Again?:
There are quite a few sayings about aging and that body of knowledge includes chestnuts like: “Age is just a number.” and “You’re only as old as you feel.”
And other than confirmation-bias or just plain-old self-delusion, those sayings it-seemed were nothing more than musing or philosophy.
But then a strange thing happened, and SCIENCE! stepped in and did something it rarely-does; it gave traditional anecdotal wisdom a pretty fair shake…
Ask People A Simple Question:
And researchers in London’s University College conducted a simple little study.
It went something like this:
1) Ask about 6500 people an average of 65 years-old how old they really feel…
2) Take notes on what they say & how.
3) And then track their health outcomes.
3a) Especially over longer periods of time if you can.
…Eight years later on, the researchers caught up with the subjects and found something very interesting.
Science Shows The Basis Of CBT Works -For Yet Another Thing:
-Or pretty obvious, if you know anything about Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and how it can work; -starting with EITHER cognitions or behavior that then affect the other.
There was no relationship between people’s feelings about age and their mortality rate from cancer.
But there WAS a relationship between people’s feelings about age and their death-rate from Cardiovascular Disease!
People Who Say They Feel Younger Actually Do Live Longer:
People who felt at least 3 years younger than their chronological age were outliving their more pessimistic-peers by 11%, and their more rational-minded peers by 4%!
The Likely-Culprits? -Diet, Exercise, and General Wellness Habits.
When people start telling themselves they’re “Old”, they become discouraged & sort-of give-up in a way.
Fear May Be The Mind-Killer, But Giving-Up Is The Longevity-Killer:
They tell themselves that they shouldn’t or can’t do something in-terms of activity, and so they slow down or stop.
-Especially if they believe that any pain from exercise is an inevitable & serious issue.
Dr. Mike Evans’ Staggering Stats Do Not Lie:
And in doing that, violate Dr. Mike Evans’ law of 30 minutes of exercise/day, and lose out on many other activities and the staggering number of health improvements he outlines in that video.
And after they stop, how likely are they to change their minds & start up again? -Not very.
Ok, what’s the other thing to go? -Diet.
You Cannot Out-Exercise Bad Nutrition. You Probably Won’t Outlive It Either:
If someone starts in-effect telling themselves they have nothing to look forward-to, well then what reason do they have to do the other main part of keeping in shape?
-Yup, the diet probably starts to get worse, too. All the bad foods, because: Who Cares?
And as we know, your ability to eat Massively outweighs your ability to exercise.
And since muscle-mass general goes down with age and fat tends to go up…
Your Mind Is The Only Thing That Can Save You From The Vicious-Cycle:
-Just like everyone else who gets caught in a vicious-cycle and gives up, that negative attitude really hurts you.
So perhaps as Dr. Ronald D. Siegel of Harvard’s Positive Psychology Report might suggest:
The best way to stay healthy & youthful is to keep Both the wisdom that experience can bring,
BUT also remain open to both mental challenges, physical challenges, and novelties like young people are.
-Or what the Buddhists might call “The Beginner’s Mind”
Meditation‘s probably not a bad idea, either.
Check out the details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Optimism”, by Flickr user Loozrboy
• Source: Harvard Health Blog
• Source Study: JAMA Intern. Med-Feeling Old vs Being Old. Associations Between Self-perceived Age and Mortality