Skip to content

Laugh and be childlike: it could add years to your life

With Seniors Week getting underway in Queensland on Saturday (13 August), my attention was drawn to a research letter published by the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine that found truth in the adage ‘you’re only as old as you feel’.

Two researchers at University College London found that older people who felt three or more years younger than their chronological age had a lower death rate compared with those who felt older than their years.

Eight years after analyzing the 6500 responses, the respondents were revisited: who was still alive?

86% of those who felt younger than their actual age

While there was no association between self-perceived age and cancer death, there was with cardiovascular health and there remained a 41% greater mortality hazard among those who felt older than their actual age compared with those who felt younger.

Such findings open up debate about the role that state of mind plays on longevity.

How can we feel younger?

Stay active, be social and sociable, learn something new and spend time with young kids – all these can help.

Seniors Week— a government-sponsored community-based awareness campaign to improve community attitudes about older people and to encourage their active participation—gets underway in Queensland this Saturday (13 August) with the theme it’s on for young and old.

I suggest laughter yoga for seniors be considered for next year’s program. After all, it ticks the boxes:

  • Laughter yoga is a light cardio workout that can be tailored to all levels of ability
  • Laughter yoga is a wonderful social connector for participants
  • No two laughter yoga sessions need to be the same
  • Laughter yoga, at its core, tickles alive the playfulness of our silenced inner child, encouraging childlike joy and play.

Read more about laughter yoga and seniors.

(c) Heather Grant Campbell aka Heather Joy 2016