4 mind and body benefits of aging

A few months ago, we gave three reasons why older is better, including research that showed seniors are happier than their younger selves. Turns out we just scratched the surface of the ‘getting older is getting better’ movement—here are four more mind and body benefits of growing old:

You’re never too old to feel young

A 2009 Pew Research Centre Social & Demographic Trends survey on aging* found that the older people get, the younger they feel. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, about half said they felt their age, while about 25 per cent reported they felt older than their chronological age, and another 25 per cent felt younger. Yet 60 per cent of adults 65 and older felt 10-19 years younger than their age, compared with 32 per cent who felt exactly their age and a miniscule 3 per cent who felt older than their age. That would seem to prove the adage that “age is only a state of mind.”

You get fewer colds and allergies

It turns out that our immune system has a “memory”* and can recognize a recurring invader, such as the common cold. This cumulative experience means you’re able to ward off colds better; the response is at its peak from your 40s up until your late 60s and early 70s.

While researchers still debate the definitive cause of allergies, there are some studies and anecdotal evidence that show that allergies peak in childhood, and then again in our 30s. Often when people move into their 50s and 60s, allergies decrease.

You may actually sleep better

The popular belief that sleep worsens with age may be false. A study* of 150,000 Americans by the Centre for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania found that once researchers adjusted the results to compensate for health problems and depression (two common causes of poor sleep), seniors over 70 self-reported the lowest number of sleeping complaints. Based on their results, the study’s researchers subsequently challenged the medical profession’s assertion that sleep complaints from seniors are a normal part of aging.

If you’re a migraine sufferer, you may suffer less

Migraines can become less of a headache as we age, too. A 12-year retrospective Swedish study of how migraines progress over time found that attacks become shorter, less painful and less frequent as people got older.

From learning a new skill and volunteering for a good cause, to keeping active, Chartwell’s LiveNow lifestyle programming promotes leading an active, happy and engaged lifestyle through your retirement years. To learn more, or download a sample activity calendar, click here.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:

  1. Pew Research Center. "Growing Old in America: Expectations vs. Reality" (2009), Online: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2009/06/29/growing-old-in-america-expectations-vs-reality/>
  2. BBC. "The benefits of getting older" (2015), Online: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151028-the-benefits-of-getting-older
  3. Oxford Academic. "Age and Sleep Disturbances Among American Men And Women: Data From the U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System" (2012), Online: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-lookup/doi/10.5665/sleep.1704
  4. National Library of Medicine. "One-year prevalence of migraine in Sweden: a population-based study in adults" (2001), Online: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11531898