Secrets of youth revealed in latest study

22nd November 2012

Owning an iPhone, watching reality television and beating younger relatives at games are just some of the secrets to keeping young, it emerged yesterday.

Smiling Couple Cycling

A study of 1,000 over 50s carried out by the mutual healthcare provider, Benenden Healthcare Society revealed that surfing the web, spending time with the grandchildren or catching the eye of someone younger as big reasons to feel more alive. Whilst anyone feeling a bit stale could benefit by knowing what Twitter is or by having a Facebook profile, sporting a leather jacket and trying yoga.

The Benenden Healthcare study also revealed the secrets to youth that the older generation rely on with a fifth saying specific foods such as broccoli, oats and blueberries providing the health boosts most swear by.

And age is just a number, with the average person claiming their youth secrets lead them to feeling 18 years younger than they actually are.

Yesterday Paul Keenan, External Affairs Manager for Benenden Healthcare said:

“The top 40 reasons we were given for staying young, by the people we spoke to, are certainly varied and while a lot of staying young is down to individual attitude (nine in ten of those we spoke to thought that how old you feel as a person mostly depends on your outlook and attitude to life) 70 per cent also feel it’s crucial to laugh regularly.

“While a lot of staying young is down to individual attitude, it seems there are many common experiences people turn to reconnect with their youth or feel invigorated day to day.

“Time spent with our younger friends and family members of course gives us a new perspective, while keeping up with technology and social trends clearly has a bearing on how in-touch a person considers themselves.

“And it’s certainly true that things like trying new food, reading challenging books and even playing practical jokes are big contributors to feeling youthful.”

Many of the “older” generation thought staying up past midnight led to feeling alive, while eating spicy food and keeping in touch with the local gossip are guaranteed to keep a person fresh.

Using smartphone apps, eating chocolate and having a younger partner all appeared to keep many an over fifty in good nick – while living a little daringly keeps a person young.  Flirting with a stranger, reading an erotic novel and driving a little fast were all also named in the top 40 secrets.

The average respondent in the Benenden Healthcare survey was aged 59 – but the age people actually felt was 18 years younger at 41.

And sometimes feeling young means not always playing by the rules -four in ten describe themselves as rebellious, with more than a quarter saying they’ve received ‘a telling off’ while in their fifties.

In fact, it seems forty per cent of over fifties have trespassed somewhere and a quarter admits they’ve broken the law since hitting half a century.

Playing practical jokes is also deemed important in the battle against old age – while thirty per cent described themselves as risk takers overall.

Three quarters told Benenden Healthcare they don’t let their age stop them from making an effort to stay up to date by embracing new technology.

Paul Keenan added: “Of course, it’s not so much about feeling young as it is about feeling content in life and making time to do the things that make you happy.

“It can be a serious world and sometimes we can get wrapped up in it too much so it’s important not to lose sight of what keeps you feeling good about yourself.

“Whether that’s dancing, keeping tabs with what’s deemed ‘trendy’ or simply enjoying games with younger relatives, taking time to remember what you enjoy about life is crucial to approaching it in the right way.”


  • Trying new food
  • Surfing the web
  • Reading books that challenge me
  • Having sex
  • Dancing around to music
  • Having a Facebook account
  • Going out/ socialising with grown up kids/grandchildren
  • Knowing what Twitter is
  • Eating chocolate
  • Staying up past midnight
  • Eating spicy food
  • Beating younger relatives at games
  • Keeping up to date with the gossip of people I know
  • Getting tipsy
  • Go swimming
  • Catching the eye of someone younger
  • Using phone apps
  • Having a younger partner
  • Watching the latest cinema releases
  • Watching the latest television
  • Eating sweets
  • Watching stand-up comedy
  • Going cycling
  • Having an iPhone
  • Dancing on a dance floor
  • Flirting with a stranger
  • Reading an erotic novel
  • Watching reality television
  • Playing practical jokes
  • Fancying a younger celebrity
  • Reading magazines that are aimed at younger readers
  • Driving a car fast
  • Staying in touch with what celebrities are doing
  • Yoga class
  • Zumba class
  • Wearing a leather jacket
  • Salsa dancing
  • Going to a nightclub
  • Wearing a short skirt
  • Drink lots of water

The survey of 2,000 Brits aged 18+ was carried out by online market researchers between 17th & 18th October 2012




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