You Might Be Three Times Older Than You Think

“Age is just a number,” they say. And, sure, that’s a useful phrase for dulling the passage of time. But is it true?

As a matter of fact, yes it is! There’s even science to prove it! But the catch is that not everyone looks and feels younger than they really are. For some people, in fact, just the opposite is true.

When scientists talk about “age,” they’re looking at two different numbers for each person:

  • Chronological Age — The number of years you’ve been alive (the answer you usually give when someone asks “how old are you?”)
  • Biological Age — The extent to which your mind and body have aged. In other words, a 30-year-old who’s lived a wild and unhealthy life might have a biological age 50.

In a new study, scientists surveyed a large group of 38-year-olds to determine how much variety they might find in biological age. The results, as reported in The Independent, were surprising.

While most participants’ chronological and biological ages were a close match, some were off by threefold. At best, some of the subjects sported the health and vigor of a 28-year-old, a whole decade their junior. But at the other end of the spectrum, some of those not-quite-40s had already aged to 61, biologically speaking.

“Even before they were middle aged,” The Independent reports, “individuals who aged rapidly ‘were less physically able, showed cognitive decline and brain aging, self-reported worse health, and looked older.’”

Several twins were included in the study, allowing researchers to eliminate genetics as a determining factor. It’s likely, then, that lifestyle and biological health play a bigger role.

Experts say the big takeaway here is that prevention and medication could play a major role in curbing the aging process and prolonging life for many years to come.

If you had to guess, where would you assign your own biological age? If it’s too high, you might face lifestyle changes and increased healthcare costs sooner than expected. Remember — it’s never too early to time to start making plans for the future, and it’s never too late to embrace healthier living!