Baby boomers are generally healthier and have better life satisfaction than the generation before them, according to a study carried out by scientists at the Universität Heidelberg and the University of Leipzig in Germany. The research team has pooled data from the Longitudinal Study on Adult Development and Aging (ILSE) with a unique cohort population of participants born between 1930 and 1932, and those born 20 years later between 1950 and 1952.
The study has also measured several health markers including the patients’ psychological, psychiatric, medical, and dental health. Likewise, the research has taken into account the participants’ sensory performance and daily activities. The findings reveal that volunteers born in the 1950s are less likely to develop cognitive disorders than those born 20 years earlier.
“We found that minor cognitive impairments as a risk syndrome for Alzheimer’s disease are less frequent than in the same age group twenty years ago. We also see an improvement in neuropsychological ability, which reflects better overall health,” Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Wahl states in a university press release.
The findings also show that baby boomers are more likely than their older counterparts to have a positive, goal-driven attitude towards aging. According to the researchers, having a positive attitude about aging may play a central role in achieving a greater life satisfaction. The scientists say that the results may have potential implications in the development of preventive measures that may boost life quality in middle-aged and older adults, and effectively protect them from age-related disorders.
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The findings have been presented at the Heidelberg Symposium on Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Social Psychiatry.
Baby boomers are beating millennials too
Aside from being healthier than their predecessors, a British study carried out by Nuffield Health has also revealed that baby boomers have now outperformed millennials in maintaining a healthy body. The researchers have obtained data from all of Nuffield Health’s 77 fitness and well-being gyms across the United Kingdom as part of the study. The results show that gym members aged 60 to 69 years old visit the gym seven times a month, while millennial members aged 20 to 29 years old hit the gym at an average of only five times a month. The findings also reveal that some of the oldest gym members aged 78 and older visit the gym about 12 times a month.
“While you may expect younger people to be in the gym more as they are perceived to be more body conscious, it’s actually those in their sixties who are exercising more. We have seen a huge shift in the attitudes of those who are in their sixties when it comes to ageing. They know that keeping fit and healthy is a key factor in ageing well and are choosing to embrace a healthier lifestyle to maintain or improve both their physical and mental well-being,” says Norman Brown, one of Nuffield Health’s oldest trainers.
Moreover, the results show that more than half of middle-aged and older customers have inquired for a gym membership with a goal of improving their current fitness. The study has also found that nearly one in five of these prospect customers did so due to an existing medical condition, while nearly a quarter of them have inquired for a gym membership to lose excess weight. (Related: Physical activity throughout older age linked to higher psychological well-being)
“There are many benefits associated with keeping in good health and these only increase as we age. The main ones for me are to maintain independence, avoid the common lifestyle illnesses, and to feel good. Making exercise and healthy eating choices now is the best way to help you age well but, above all, remember the less you do today, the less you will be able to do in the future,” Brown adds.
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