People Who Feel Younger May Live Longer

People Who Feel Younger May Live Longer

We’ve all heard the old saying, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Turns out, it might be true—at least according to a new study out of University College London that suggests people who feel younger than their actual age live longer than those who feel their actual age or older.

Published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the study involved analysis of data from a previous study on aging and included details for more than 6,000 adults who were at least 52 years old. In 2004, these adults answered a question about how old they felt. At that time, more than 66 percent of them felt at least three years younger than their real age. A little over 25 percent felt their real age, and less than 5 percent felt older than their real age.

Looking forward to the data gathered on these individuals in 2013, the researchers found that 14 percent of those who felt younger back in 2004 had since died. However, 19 percent of those who felt their age had passed on, as had 25 percent of those who felt older than their actual years.

One might assume this difference was due to the people who felt older actually being sicker and at greater risk of dying. However, when the researchers accounted for pre-existing health conditions—such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke—the relationship between perceived age and longevity remained strong.

What does this study mean for you? Well, you already know that exercising and adopting a lifestyle that reduces your chances of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes is important if you want to live a long and healthy life. But the results of this study illustrate that your attitude towards aging also plays a role. Consider the following simple tips to help you feel younger today:

  • Go to bed earlier. Your body can only truly restore itself while it’s at rest. Sleep less than seven hours a night and you’ll feel foggy and cranky rather than young.
  • Eat more leafy greens. Studies have shown that consuming two or more servings of leafy greens every day—such as spinach, chard and kale—can give you the mental focus you had five years ago.
  • Snack on almonds. Inflammation plays a role in a multitude of age-related issues from wrinkles and arthritis to heart disease. Fortunately, studies have found that almonds—that are rich in free-radical fighting flavonoids—reduce inflammation. Try for 24 almonds (or about 1 ounce) a day.
  • Volunteer your time. Studies have shown that older adults who volunteer in their communities experience both mental and physical health benefits.
  • Learn something new. Keep your mind active and you’ll always feel younger than your years. You can find free classes online and at local community centers where you can learn everything from a foreign language to the latest dance steps.

While these tips can help you feel younger for longer, no one lives forever. If you’d like to make sure your loved ones are taken care of when that time comes, give us a call to discuss life insurance options.

 

Get Physically Fit for Less

Get Physically Fit for Less

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many Americans, you may have pledged to better your fitness as well as save money over the next 12 months. Implement the following simple suggestions to help you do both and join the ranks of the 8 percent who actually achieve those first of the year goals.

Choose your fitness investments wisely.

Spend money on anything—from a new pair of running shoes to a gym membership—that you won’t actually use and you’re basically throwing hard-earned cash away. Invest in experiences—and associated gear—that you find enjoyable and motivating and it’s money well spent. This may mean paying for race entries if you have a strong competitive urge, joining a workout group if you need accountability, or even buying the occasional ensemble if new fitness duds inspire you.

Try it out before you go all in.

Before you commit to paying a quarterly membership fee for a running club, an annual fee to join a gym, or even purchase a month’s worth of yoga classes, ask if you can try the activity for free. Many groups, gyms and studios offer free trial memberships (of a few days to a few weeks), or allow you to purchase training sessions and classes in smaller increments. If you find you love the experience, you can always sign up for more.

Utilize free smartphone apps.

Great technology doesn’t have to cost a dime. Search Google Play or iTunes and you’ll find thousands of free fitness applications you can use to learn new exercises, find inspiration, or track your workouts and progress towards goals. Accountability plays a big part in maintaining your resolutions, so apps that include online communities or integrate with your social media accounts can be particularly helpful.

Share a personal trainer.

If you’re new to exercise, taking the time to learn proper form before beginning your fitness regime can help you achieve better results and stay injury free. While experienced personal trainers often charge upwards of $50 an hour, they may allow you to split the cost of instruction with a friend (or a group of friends) if you schedule sessions together. This can reduce your investment substantially.

Make the most of nothing.

A tight budget doesn’t have to mean giving up fitness. There are many exercises you can do—from walking, jogging and running to simple bodyweight movements—that don’t require anything in terms of equipment or expensive gym memberships. Add a jump rope and a few weights (bought for cheap from a used sporting goods store) and you’ll have everything you need to complete a challenging total body workout at any time from the comfort of your own home.

Get help from your employer or health insurer.

If your employer offers a workplace wellness plan, participation may include a discounted membership at a local gym or other free fitness classes and resources. Ask your human resources department for all the details. It’s also possible that your health insurer offers fitness incentives—from discounts on classes to membership reimbursements—as part of their wellness package. Contact your insurance professional to learn more about your particular policy.