Age Is Really Just a Number? Why the Age You Feel Matters More
7 minute read
You’re only as young as you feel. More than a motivational phrase, there actually is some medical truth to this statement. Studies have found that your subjective age is more important to your overall health than your physical age.
The way you feel has a greater impact on your health and is a more accurate predictor for longevity and vitality.
Staying young at heart can have both mental and physical advantages. The daily stresses of life along with illness can take their toll on you and can cause you and your cells to be appear, feel, and function like someone older than you really are.
In the same way, staying young at heart and changing your age can promote good health and keep you alive for longer, no matter what your birthdate is.
Perks of a Youthful Personality
When you seek to be youthful, you open yourself to new experiences that can boost your mental and physical well-being. Maybe you take up a new hobby, travel more, or just try new exercises.
| Related: High-Intensity Workouts Can Slow the Aging Process |
Feeling younger allows you to maintain optimal health goals and can prolong your life. With more years available to you, you get the chance to thrive during the latter years of your life. The benefit of seeking new experiences later in life is that you now have the wisdom to better guide you.
As you enter adulthood in your twenties, you are still unsure about the world and where you are going. Everything is new and almost overwhelming. These, however, are the years when we are naturally wired to seek new experiences and make frequent changes.
Our thirties, forties, and fifties see a shift in personalities as we get more settled into life and planning becomes more important than going with the flow. This is often when we have more responsibilities that inhibit random road trips and frequent job changes.
| Related: How to Build Resilience in Midlife |
Because we have to focus and show self-discipline, exuberance is not a common component of these years.
Staying youthful at heart allows you to maintain these responsibilities but still pulls at you like an invisible force. You desire to try new things and step outside the box every once in a while. The good news is that you shouldn’t ignore that pull, and allow your wisdom to guide you as you seek out spontaneity. There is no rule that says you can’t be a responsible adult and have fun too.
The fun you seek doesn’t have to involve daredevil stunts and throwing all caution to the wind: try a wine-tasting adventure or a new yoga class instead of that skydiving expedition and still have fun.
Adding any fun and spontaneity into your life keeps you youthful in spirit and will defy your physical age.
Turning Back Time
Obviously you can never act exactly as you did when you were younger. You may feel younger than you are, but physically the body will age. You will notice a decline as you get older because your body does slow down, and muscles naturally deteriorate as we age, a process called sarcopenia.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a couch potato; you may just need to modify your activities as you get older.
There are a number of things you can do to stay young at heart and boost longevity. The more youthful you feel, the better you feel about yourself.
Physical, mental, and emotional health gets a boost when you remain young at heart. Aging is a process you can’t avoid, but you can certainly take control of the process and not let the numbers define you. Here’s what you should do:
Stress is a part of life, but how you handle it determines your health and your subjective age (the age you feel). The key to relaxing is accepting that you cannot change the past nor control the future.
| Related: How to Reduce Anxiety With One Meditation Session |
These are the top reasons people feel anxiety. Once you control these, you will feel less stressed. Meditation, massage, yoga, and deep breathing exercises also help promote daily relaxation, allowing you to better handle any stress that comes your way.
Regular exercise helps to combat stress and keeps you fit and healthy. It is a great way to ward off the physical malaise that comes with aging. As you get older, you may have to tone down the intensity, but you should never stop moving.
It also helps to exercise the mind and keep your brain active. Learn new things and seek new experiences because a youthful brain will mean a more youthful body.
Seek and maintain friendships and personal relationships. Staying connected not only gives you support through tough times, but it protects you from loneliness and depression, which can take years off your life.
Humans are naturally social creatures, so make time for friends and loved ones. Stay active together, relax together, and feel young together. Here is a great reason to own a dog.
Lack of sleep can make you grumpy and lazy in the morning. Not getting enough sleep can wear your body down.
Sleep allows your body to regenerate and refresh, and without this, the body ages quickly. Restful sleep is necessary for keeping your mind sharp and your body healthy. With that physical age already trying to slow your body down, don’t let a lack of sleep slow you down mentally too.
Maintaining a diverse and balanced diet will ensure your body has everything it needs to maintain optimal function. This goes a long way in warding off physical signs of aging.
When you get the essential nutrients you need, you also feel better, more energized, and ready for whatever your young-at-heart mind has in store for you.
The Bottom Line
Age really is just a number and it doesn’t have to define you. While there are certain physical aspects of getting older that are out of your control, there is much you can stay in charge of.
Mind over matter is more than a saying. When you think young, you act young, and ultimately you will feel young. Preserve your youthfulness, and you will be a fountain of youth for many years to come.
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