“Young at heart” is a mindset plus a prescription for youthful appearance and health despite the person’s chronological age. Choosing to remain youthful is part of that prescription; an active choice renewed repeatedly by the person benefiting from their thoughts and balanced personality. Medical and mental health exams prove that they respond physically, biologically, and emotionally as if they were substantially younger than they are. Physical and emotional wellbeing work symbiotically, reinforcing each other. Think of the intentionally slouched over and morose 30-year-old who feels ancient versus the standing tall 60-year old with a glowing face and straight spine. Their thoughts and behaviors support each other.
It’s one thing to joke about being immature and hence young forever, but there’s a kernel of truth to the pun. The refusal to feel negative, a lack of desire to give up, and a focus on rewarding hobbies that keep the body and mind active literally defy the aging process. The medical world is known for its boring reminders that regular exercise is good for health. The mental health world has its own publicity problems with that line of thought because medication can slow a person’s mind and body. But the odds are in favor of people who muster the willpower to bypass boring bromides in order to enjoy positive moods and outlooks.
Strength training tones muscles for a more youthful look and better breathing. That kind of regular exercise makes up for age-related loss of muscle mass. The person gains strength and flexibility, let alone muscle. They gain an increasingly positive state of mind from the exercises, too. Exercise causes chemical reactions that induce a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
Strength training coach David BenMoshe recently shared a related thought on his Facebook page:
“Train Your Breath
You use muscles to breathe. Just like all the other muscles in your body,
these muscles can become deconditioned or dysfunctional.
This is bad. Poor breathing will increase your stress levels, make exercise
less fun, and correlates to higher pain levels.
The foundation of a core strengthening (or any strengthening for that matter)
One of the easiest ways to get better at breathing is to lay on the floor and breathe. One reason is because it is easier to have strong posture when you
don’t have to fight gravity.
Lay on your back.
Straighten your Legs and arms.
Breathe, deeply and slowly for 2 minutes.
Get up and see if you don’t feel a little better than before.
If you have any questions send me a message.
P.S. If this causes you pain, don’t do it and see a medical professional.
It’s a HUGE red flag.”
Professor Yannick Stephan at the University of Montpellier studies sport sciences. He indicates that “…a younger subjective age at baseline was associated with increases in Openness, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness; correlated changes were also found. The rank‐order stability of Extraversion and Openness and overall profile consistency were higher among those with a younger subjective age at baseline and were also associated with the rate of subjective aging over time. The present study reveals that beyond chronological age, the age an individual feels is related to changes in characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving over time.” In another study he indicated “Conclusions The present study provides robust evidence for an association between an older subjective age and a higher risk of mortality across adulthood. These findings support the role of subjective age as a biopsychosocial marker of aging.”
The upshot of that comment above is that an upbeat attitude can prevent outward signs of aging, and negativity can make you die sooner than you need to. Exercising your spirit and your body can help to prevent, to delay, and to minimize the effects of serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, arthritis, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and stroke. A purposely positive point of view can keep your mind sharp and prevent a sense of negativity.
BenMoshe also notes that “When your posture changes, your mind changes. This is true both psychologically and physiologically. Standing tall, and strong won’t just make you feel stronger, it will MAKE you stronger physically and mentally.”
Now you know why exercising, dancing, singing, running, and almost any safely pursued sport makes people smile more widely than before, and why choosing to think positively, or at least to behave as if you feel positive increases present happiness, too. A life lived without emotional limits enables the body to benefit from a cascade of chemicals that preserve a youthful level of health. Think about that the next time you consider someone’s posture, smile or stride beautiful. Match them and enjoy the rejuvenating impact.