Researchers believe they may have honed in on a fountain of youth, and it could be all in our heads. According to a new study, people who “feel” younger live longer.

The researchers asked 6,489 individuals, aged 52 and older, a simple question: “How old do you feel you are?” Then they compared responses with actual ages, all-cause mortality rates and deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease during a 99-month follow-up.

The majority of respondents felt at least 3 years younger than their chronological age. Throughout the follow-up period, the mortality rate among those who felt younger was 14.3%. For those who perceived themselves to be the age they were, the rate was slightly higher, at 18.5%. And among those who said they felt older than they were, 24.6% died during the intervention.

These data held true with respect to cardiovascular deaths, but researchers found no association between perceived age and cancerrelated mortality.

The study was published as a research letter in the JAMA Internal Medicine (2014; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed .2014.6580).

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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