Did you know that the average difference between our actual age and how old we mentally feel is 12 years? It’s called “Subjective Age” and is a powerful indicator of our current brain health and it changes over our lifetime. In fact, those with a younger “Subjective Age” had a more youthful brain structure and stronger memory than those who felt the same age or older than their chronological age.
A 30-year-old typically feels two years younger mentally, while a 40-year-old feels eight years more youthful in their mind than what’s written on their birth certificate. By 50, the gap has widened to 13 years, while a 60-year-old typically thinks their mental age is 42.
According to scientists people who feel younger than their chronological age are typically healthier and more psychologically resilient than those who feel older. They perform better on memory tasks and are at lower risk of cognitive decline. By contrast, people who feel older than their chronological age are more at risk for hospitalization, dementia and death.
However, this gap isn’t as wide when we’re asked how old we feel based on our bodies. People often say their bodies made them feel older than they really are. For instance, a persistent ache or pain, or feeling self-conscious about your weight or some extra wrinkles, can add eight years to how old you feel.
While the ageing process is a universal phenomenon, people perceive and experience one’s ageing considerably differently, but please, don’t tell me “50 is the new 30“.
Age is not just a number. Fifty is simply the new fifty, with lots of vitality and appetite for life, despite wrinkles and menopause. We own our scars and our wrinkles as a badge of pride; they show that we have lived and that we have endured.
So, how do you know how old you really are? Thomas Perls, MD, associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine and creator of the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, can help reveal your body’s “true age”. Take the quiz and stay sassy!