Five anti-ageing factors

They say that fifty is the new forty, but does anybody really know what that means? One thing it certainly does mean is that we are all increasingly concerned about the ageing process and if you look at the times we live in, that is no surprise at all.

In our hunter-gatherer or medieval past, when middle age could be celebrated at your 21st birthday party, there was no need (or market) for anti-ageing remedies. In those times arthritis and loss of faculties were a luxury to experience should you live that long. Now however, ageing is a major issue since we spend a major portion of our lives as “aged”.

As the first members of the “baby boomer” generation turn 65 and contemplate another few decades on the planet, we, as a society are considering what it means to age “successfully”. This is no idle musing of the lotus eaters either, as understanding what it means to live successfully into later life will have huge economic and social implications into the future.

In light of this, researchers decided to establish what factors contribute to a successful ageing process from both a subjective and an objective viewpoint. To do this they interviewed 5600 people aged between 50 and 74. They looked at how factors earlier in life and also current behaviours impacted ageing.

Objective successful ageing was defined as living without disease, disability, or mental decline. On the other hand, subjective ageing was constituted by people’s own view of their success and happiness. The researchers wanted to establish those who scored high on objective and subjective measures of successful ageing to see if there are factors in common to these conditions.

The good news is that there were five factors that came up as leading to successful ageing:

1. Being educated

2. Never having been incarcerated

3. Being married

4. Consuming only moderate amounts of alcohol

5. Either working for pay or doing volunteer work

The research also found that the person you are when you are older is highly dependent on what you do and who you are when you are young. In essence, ageing is what you begin doing when you are born and is a lifelong process; there really are no free lunches, every action has an effect.

The moral then is to enrol in a course now, keep your nose clean, hook up with a soulmate, share a glass of red wine with them, and sign up for meals on wheels. Even if you don’t live forever, you’ll have such a good time that it will feel like you are!

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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