Physical activity and subjective age across adulthood in four samples

TitlePhysical activity and subjective age across adulthood in four samples
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsStephan, Y, Sutin, AR, Terracciano, A
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Date PublishedOct 2019
ISSN Number1613-9380
KeywordsPhysical activity, Subjective age

The present study examined the prospective association between physical activity and subjective age across adulthood and factors that mediate this association. Participants were adults aged from 20 to 90 years (N\thinspace>\thinspace10,000) drawn from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study graduates and siblings samples, the Health and Retirement Study and the Midlife in the United States Survey. In the four samples, physical activity was assessed at baseline and subjective age was measured 8 to 20 years later. Personality, self-rated health, disease burden, depressive symptoms, and cognition were assessed as potential mediators. In the four samples, higher physical activity at baseline was associated with a younger subjective age at follow-up. Logistic regression revealed that physical activity was related to a 30–50% higher likelihood of feeling younger 8 to 20 years later. Significant indirect effects were found through openness to experience and self-rated health in the four samples. This study provides new evidence on the link between a health-related behavior and subjective age. Physically active individuals may sustain health and an open psychological disposition that is associated with feeling younger.

Citation KeyStephan2019