The SparkPeople Blog

Poll: Is Age Just a Number to You?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/15/2010 2:06 PM   :  230 comments   :  15,684 Views

See More: family, aging,
Ever since I was a child, age has seemed like just a number. Lately though, as the big 3-0 looms in front of me, I've been hearing more about age. Despite taking some BIG, grown-up steps lately (like buying a house), I still don't feel like a grownup every day (does anyone, really?).

When my parents were my age, they had been married for eight years, and they had two school-age children. Some days, I feel like I can barely take care of myself. (OK, so that's an exaggeration. I care for myself quite well. But taking care of a cat feels like a lot of work some days.)

My parents had me young (at 20), so perhaps that's why age has always been relative to me. My stepmom is 10 years younger than my father (so she's 38), and they've been happily married since 1991. I have siblings who are 26, 18, 16, and 7, and my youngest aunt is just 38. (Did I lose you there?) The numbers aren't important; what's important is that people never seemed "old" or "young" to me.

I'm only 28, but lately several people have asked me if I'm mourning the loss of my 20s. I consider 28 to be quite young, and life is looking up for me every day. I'm a firm believer that wisdom comes with age--goodness knows that, while I'm far from being a sage elder, I'm far wiser than I was at age 20--and I look forward to enjoying every moment of my life. I neither wish for the future's speedier arrival nor do I look back and long for days gone by. I'm trying to live every moment to the fullest while keeping myself as healthy as possible.

Lately I'm finding inspiration in people who aren't letting a number stop them, people who have made big changes in their lives and are far healthier because of it. People like Coach Nancy, who ran her first marathon last year, like Denise Austin, who's in amazing shape in her 50s, and my grandmother, who lost 35 pounds--and is keeping it off--through small changes.

I believe that, like a fine wine, we get better with age.

According to a 2005 study, happiness can have a big effect on how we feel. According to the lead researcher: "What is most interesting about this study is that people who think they are aging well are not necessarily the (healthiest) individuals."

Last summer, I spent a week visiting family in Wyoming, and I had a chance to catch up with my aunt. I've always looked up to her--she's beautiful, glamourous and sophisticated. When I was a kid, I remember her sitting at her dressing table, putting her hair in hot rollers and picking out outfits before her dates on the weekends. I wanted to be just like her. Twenty years later, she confessed to me that she's happier--and healthier--at 45 than she was back then. She said that the older she gets, the more comfortable she feels in her own skin--and that I would as well.

To me, that conversation further reinforced that age is just a number and that your RealAge is what matters. Twenty-eight-year-old Stepfanie might have a few more gray hairs and freckles than 20-year-old Stepfanie did, but I could outrun her any day of the week. And I'm sure that 38-year-old Stepfanie will give me a run for my money as well!

I took the RealAge test this week, and I was happy to find out that my "Real" age (23.5) is lower than my chronological age (28.7). I donít know my cholesterol (though I'm guessing it's low because I'm a pretty healthy eater and we don't have a family history of high cholesterol), so that counted against me. It just goes to show that we all have room for improvement in life.

The test took only a few minutes, and it was fun to see how I did. Have you taken it? I want to know what you think: Should we feel "old" or "young," or is age just a number?

Go take the test and report back. If your age was higher than you'd like, tell us one thing you can do (or are doing already) to improve your health. If your age is at or below your chronological age, tell us one of your "secrets"!

Editor's note: SparkPeople and RealAge have a co-promotional agreement. RealAge is Spreading the Spark to its members, while we're telling our members about RealAge.


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Comments

  • 230
    I do feel older-physically-not mentally-so I'm fighting to be healthy! - 9/22/2012   4:02:51 PM
  • 229
    I'm in my mid 40's and I feel like I'm at least 10 years younger. I think I am going to incorporate the saying that age is just a number more. I feel good and life is grand! - 9/21/2012   2:26:41 PM
  • 228
    Have fun! Don't worry about the calendar - 9/21/2012   11:49:38 AM
  • SUPERCHICK106
    227
    Mentality and outlook on life is everything! Ask people "Are you young?" and their first answer is prolly correct - 1/28/2011   11:16:03 AM
  • TESS_O_LANDS
    226
    Yes, it is just a number. This week I posted on my Facebook about Shape magazine's piece on "Confidence Queens from Age 9 to 99;" it doesn't seem to be on their website but is in the print version (at least no one I know found it on the site). Take a look at the 99-year-old lady who does yoga an hour a day plus a 30-minute walk. She is in great shape, the others are all the same, confident, strong women.

    I know people in their 30s who are out of shape, would not exercise daily if the world were coming to an end and feel bad about themselves.

    They need to go take a hard look at the 99-year-old lady in this piece, with the sparkling eyes and nice figure.

    I personally get a lot of ageism directed to me in my profession and especially since I was injured last year. I am currently in the process of pointing out to the universe that I am not dead yet and probably I run rings around people half my age in career, exercise, eating right (OK, not so much in eating right).

    But personally, age is a number, sort of. I am going to live to be a viable 120 and I will never share my age with anyone because they will judge me.

    I vote for age just being a number and everyone who is not exercising daily should go for it lol. - 1/28/2011   10:51:06 AM
  • 225
    Denise Austin is 53. She's 5'4" and 112#. (I know because I wrote and asked her.) She's the mother of 2 girls.
    Priscilla Patrick (Yogaone.com) and Joyce Vedral are both over 65 but when you check their websites you will see what great shape they are in. Priscilla is 5'6" and 110#. It is amazing to see these women. - 3/15/2010   2:15:08 PM
  • 224
    Not bad 33.8. This puts me 1 year older by a few months. It is definetly better than some of the ages I have seen for my WII fit age.

    I agree that age is just a number. My sister had a melt down when she turned 30. Me being older by a year thought she was crazy and a bit dramatic about it all. I know I am getting older, such is life. However, my age should not dictate what I do with my life and I feel I have more to do in life and believe me there is a lot more out there that I want to do and see. - 3/13/2010   12:15:18 PM
  • KHALIA2
    223
    I've taken the Real Age Test before but I don't remember the exact numbers. I do remember that I was about 5 years younger. I don't really care about numbers too much. I am three years older than my husband and we never bring this up. What matters is your health and how you feel. - 2/25/2010   4:09:38 PM
  • 222
    I am definitely feeling younger and in better shape since starting Spark, the scale isn't moving like I would like it too - but I am losing inches and DEFINITELY have more energy and feel better! - 2/25/2010   12:39:37 PM
  • 221
    Age is only a number to track when one is old enough to drive, drink, vote, and collect social security. - 2/23/2010   4:37:14 PM
  • 220
    I took the Real Age test the same time I joined SP! It showed me 2 years older than my actual age .. there are things that I need to work on (BMI :( is one of them) in order to have the two line up ... - 2/22/2010   8:37:14 PM
  • SHERI1969
    219
    Okay, I just went and took this test for the 4th time in 2 years. I fully disagree with the results this time. I'm 41 years old in real life and my RealAge is 47.7. Since taking the test about a year ago, I've lost more thow 40 pounds, have been able to come off more than 3 types of medication, the medication I do take has balanced my medical conditions out, my outlook on life is more positive and optimistic, I have regular monthly check-ups etc.
    Review my meds, watch my Blood Pressure, Get your cholesterol checked, stop worrying, check up on feeling down...these are just the health issues it suggested to me. Yet without the meds I take, I would be VERY sick. IN fact, I've come off of about 3 types of medication and what I do take has been lowered. My BP is fine and my cholesterol is checked monthly too.
    Seeing that these are only the health issues of my report, I fully disagree with the report. I feel better now than I have ever felt. I've not been in hospital in 2 years, I've not been severely down or severely anxious for over a year, my weight has come down by more than 40 pounds, I have many super friends and supports so I don't see what the problem is. It may say I'm 47.7 but I believe I am 27.7. The first time I took this test with MORE medications and MORE medical conditions, my age turned out to be 25 while I was in my late 30's!!!!!! So I fully disagree with the test. I won't take it again, nor will I refer friends to it. I believe it is inaccurate and that only YOU and your family doctor can really figure out what your so-called RealAge is.
    Sheri - not happy with the results as they are total opposite of my real life!!! - 2/22/2010   6:25:08 PM
  • SHERI1969
    218
    I just turned 41 on Feb 16 and I don't feel a year over 25. I've often teased my parents that AGE IS JUST A NUMBER when they say, "oh my I'm so old" because the grandkids are 12 and 16. It's my own theory that you are only old if you really allow yourself to feel it OR when you are put in the grave. But to me, age is just a number and birthdays are blown way out of proportion in some cases. It is nice to be wished happy birthday, but huge parties and all the finness is just not for me. I'm 41 in my real life, but I feel 25 and am enjoying it. - 2/22/2010   5:39:10 PM
  • 217
    Chronological Age: 51.25
    Real Age: 44.1

    I've taken the test before and made some positive changes and lowered my "real" age. Woo Hoo! - 2/20/2010   6:59:53 PM
  • 216
    The test results were kind of depressing.

    Calendar Age 23.4
    Difference +4.9
    RealAge 28.3

    Yikes. I think the main things that really got me were an overweight BMI, being an ex-smoker for less than five years (I quit about three months and two weeks ago), having anxiety and depression (Though both are better than they were--there was no way to mark "mild, moderate or severe") and not exercising enough.

    I'm working on losing weight (Though I'm only 9 pounds away from being a normal weight), exercising more (and adding strength training, which kind of fell by the wayside), finding more ways to deal with and overcome anxiety and depression (Although I have a feeling this will be something I deal with the rest of my life--it's just the way I'm wired) and since I've quit smoking, I don't plan on starting again. Maybe finding a better multivitamin would help, too, but most of them make me feel nauseaus. - 2/20/2010   1:38:55 PM
  • 215
    yes, and I feel like I am way old...time to get in better shape! - 2/20/2010   6:19:06 AM
  • 214
    I wish I had never taken that test!... I was over 17 years older!!!!!! The test to me is lacking in some things that would have, in my opinion, made my age younger. I was older because of my:

    - breast cancer status (... nothing I can do about that... but the test says that I had advanced cancer, when my doctor tells me I had early stage and an 86% survivor rate for 5 years... 14% of recurrence, which is not bad at all...

    - My BMI which is 31... "yes I know"...
    - Not getting enough sleep - "ok"

    .... although my resting heart rate is 60 bpm and I exercise 4 - 6X's a week... it appears I should be working out less... the test says I need to lose weight, due to the 31 BMI, however, it says that I am burning too many calories per week and should forgo some of my physical activity... w-h-a-a-a-a-t????? ... the comment was that I am training like an athlete and should consider "walking"... are you kidding me?... walking is great, but I will never give up my kickboxing, spinning, etc...

    - don't have enough friends... "ok"... this area is biased because it assumed that I don't have a full and fulfilling life because I spend a lot of time with "myself"... Also, the question about a "major life issue" was not thorough because, yes, I had some stressful events over the past year, but they didn't measure the stress, for instance on a scale from 0 - 5... 5 being the highest... and also they didn't ask about hobbies... i.e. reading, knitting... they assumed I had none and that having "more people" in my life is the only surefire way to be healthy and well rounded... I definitely don't agree with this... "oh, but it did say that I could give my dog more attention as a substitute"... However, "I don't recall being asked if I am "already hugging and playing with my dog on a regular basis"...

    ... bottom line, my doctor(s) know best and aside from being overweight, which I am working on now and have in 2 weeks of joining Weight Watchers lost 3.8 pounds, feel that I am healthy and doing great!... "I'll go with that"... ~ Dee ~ - 2/20/2010   3:32:43 AM
  • KITCAT691
    213
    For a long time age was more then a number. That has changed.My current age
    is 69 my real age is 60. I am happy with myself and am doing more physically now then when I was 40. Exercise has become fun. I can't wait to see how old I am at 100. - 2/19/2010   11:55:24 PM
  • 212
    Age is definitely just a number. My husband is 10 years older than me and you would never guess it if you saw us together. Age is all about how we feel and how "old" we want to be. - 2/19/2010   3:20:29 PM
  • 211
    I think that age is just a number, I think we can be one age physically, another one mentally, and another one officially. Officially I am 30 years old, mentally sometimes I am 15 but other 45. But physically lately I feel 55, ready to retire. In the last year I have been sick more times than in the past 10 years, I had my wisdom teeth removed, I have had back and neck pain, and I cannot find enough energy. But I the end of the day 30 is just a number because everything else around us has an impact on how we feel mentally and physically - 2/19/2010   1:56:41 PM
  • 210
    Current age 63.5 Real age 57.5
    This was a shocker for me. I thought I would be older than my real age. It is good news though and thanks for providing the link. I got many ideas to become even younger. - 2/19/2010   1:07:47 PM
  • 209
    I think that it's really all in your mind. Age is nothing but a number. I don't feel the age I really am nor do I think that way. Sometimes I used to think that was wrong that I thought younger than I really am but I count that as a plus to me. I will always be young at heart yet I know how to be the "adult" that I am. I do think at times that I don't want to be an adult but I am knocked back into reality that I am and thank God that I am. a lot of my life I would live differently but I am glad that I leave myself a lot of room for more improvement as I lose more weight and become healthier each day. Age is nothing more than a number to me and I will let it rest at that because I will keep going strong even at age 120!!! - 2/18/2010   4:26:50 PM
  • 208
    I am 40 and still feel like I'm in my 20's. I don't feel 40 (almost 41). I don't look my age and don't really think about it. To me age is more how you feel and act. I work with people everyday and I see 80 and 90 year olds that are still active and going strong and then I see people in their 40's and 50's that can't hardly take care of themselves and in some cases already live in a nursing home. So I try to take what I can from each and adjust my life accordingly. - 2/18/2010   11:06:44 AM
  • BLUEBRIT
    207
    Oh boy! Now I'm bummed. My test results came back +14 years! But you know, I only think age matters if you're cheese and wine. I answered the questions honestly. - 2/18/2010   9:17:09 AM
  • IMAGIN8
    206
    There are a couple of girls at work moaning about turning 30 and feeling "old". I find it quite funny. - 2/18/2010   3:34:50 AM
  • 205
    I will be 60 in April, and my Real Age is 51.3. I do try to take care of myself, and inherited good genes. Both my Parents lived till their late 80's. - 2/18/2010   12:41:08 AM
  • 204
    I am 59.7 years old. My Real-Age is 57.7. I have always look and felt younger than I am. I have always got a kick out of people being surprised that my son was my child, every since he was about 13. He's 39 now! I have a youthful attitude so I guess that helps.

    - 2/17/2010   11:35:20 PM
  • VANANDEL
    203
    I'm 53 years old, but my "real age" is 44.2 years! - 2/17/2010   10:33:13 PM
  • 202
    I think age is just a number. I took the real age test - I am 50 in August and my Real age was 40.9. I exercise, I eat right (most of thee time). But I have a good time as well. I stay busy and I don't dwell on the little things. I didn't take any age harder than the last. My kids alway tease me - oh is mom still 38 and holding. I started out by saying that is was the whatever anniversary of my whatever birthday. They are 22 and 19 - So all you can do is make lite of it. I mean if it really bothers you - not me. LIVE ON People!!! - 2/17/2010   7:24:48 PM
  • 201
    my age is 48.8 and my real age is 49.2.

    I don't feel either. I'm healthier than I have ever been in my life. I exercise. I eat well. I sleep well (mostly sleep well)

    - 2/17/2010   4:51:06 PM
  • 200
    My real age is 28.7 and this test says that I am 29.3!! Not too bad seeing that I will be 29 in just a few short months! :-) - 2/17/2010   4:14:49 PM
  • 199
    My "real age" was five years lower than my calendar age of 40. Not bad! - 2/17/2010   2:13:09 PM
  • 198
    I am 61 and I don't "feel" any age. I don't think of myself as 61. I am just me. I think young and act young and dress young, but not too young! I don't wear bikinis or pants that are below my hips, etc.

    I tried taking the real Age test, but said my e-mail is not what they have on file and I can't seem to create a new acct. Oh well! That's the way it goes. - 2/17/2010   2:02:55 PM
  • 197
    Woohoo! I'll be 52 next month, but my "Real Age" is 44.9! That makes me happy, lol! What I like about this test, is that it gives you recommendations to improve the areas that are lacking. - 2/17/2010   1:56:30 PM
  • SEWSON58
    196
    Age is what you make of it. I am 58 and really feel the same as I always have. If you start to think old odds are you will feel old. I have people who mistake me for the mother of my young grandchildren. I sure don't tell them different,I rather enjoy it. - 2/17/2010   12:06:35 PM
  • 195
    I've always believed the adage 'you're only as old as you feel' so I have never sat still long enough to let the numbers catch up with me. But recently I have had some health issues serious enough to seek medical intervention. Instead of the professional actually listening to the history of the problem, they focus on a symptom that manifested due to the earlier ones not being addressed and use the phrase 'at your age...it is common to see....'. Few things get me more livid than to not be taken seriously because statistics say that at a certain number, people should do or be or behave whatever.way statistics dictate. (rant) - 2/17/2010   12:03:50 PM
  • 194
    I am 47 today and my Real Age was 47.9. I think I am closer to my real age than I would have been before Spark. My question is, "Where are these wrinkles COMING FROM?" - 2/17/2010   11:26:09 AM
  • 193
    Wow, I am 25, but they tell me my 'real age' is 27. I have only been an ex-smoker for 6 months, and i have a minor heart condition, and a family history riddled with cancer and heart disease. But the biggest shocker is that they tell me i need to eat more dairy, fish, and red meat!!! I don't think so! They didn't ask me if i am lactose intolerant, or vegetarian. And i make sure to get plenty of variety. - 2/17/2010   10:25:35 AM
  • 192
    LOL. I am 34 and I can definately tell you that I do not feel any older than I did at 23. Changes that I have noticed are in the ways that I deal with everyday things and people, I know I've become wiser and alot more confident in who I am.

    I love each year that comes along more than the previous. Yes, stress is still part of life but people who stress out about their age or are not comfortable enough to say "I am __ years old" miss out on a very important part of life. Age brings experience and experience brings depth and hopefully more things to be grateful about. - 2/17/2010   10:11:47 AM
  • 191
    I agree with you that as much as I just turned 41 years old, I still want to believe that I am still in my late 20's. I tend to feel immature with people in my age group because fun and games is what keeps me going. - 2/17/2010   10:02:56 AM
  • STACYLGV
    190
    my calandar age is 39.9 and my real age is 39.3, so I think thats good i am right in there. I believe age has nothing to do with the number but how you feel about yourself and where you are in life. - 2/17/2010   8:04:26 AM
  • 189
    Did the Test about a yr or so ago when it first came out- I didn't do bad except for the chronic health conditions and skin:( - 2/17/2010   7:52:03 AM
  • 188
    Took the "Real Age" test, and boy, was I shocked! My biological age is 54 and my "Real Age" was 68! Almost all due to family history. My job requires me to walk 10-14 miles a day. I carry 20-40 pound boxes up and down stairs for hours every single day. RealAge said I need to do more strength training. Wow! I am a vegetarian, and have lowered my cholesterol and my weight since joining SP. My BP is normal. I feel great, and I think I look age appropriate. Poo on you, Real Age! - 2/17/2010   7:16:14 AM
  • 187
    Urk.... I'm not sure how I feel about this whole issue.
    When someone says I don't 'look 55', I want to say, 'YES, I do. This is what 55 looks like".
    Cause so many people lie about their ages, the vision that people have about age gets squewed. I had a job where I looked at peoples drivers licenses for about 15 years, and I got so I could tell somebodies age within about 8 months... & most people seemed to get, er, kind of ticked about it.
    55. My skin on my hands is thinning, and my neck has lots of lines, and my crows feet make beautiful etchings on my face.
    Nice.
    S'all right. I'm having fun with it all.
    Of course- I really believe that if we stay in touch with our whole selves- we keep all of the ages we have ever been sort of 'accessable' to our inner selves. I let my 3 year old self finger paint, and my 10 year old self see figures in clouds, and my..... it's all adding up to a fun, full me. But integrating and reveling in the WHOLE thing is what truly counts. Hooray for being YOUR age! What ever it is.
    Hmmmm.... long rant for a comment on a blog.... but the whole 'oh, dread, I'm almost X thing bugs me.
    Staying alive, staying alive, ah, ah, ah, ah staying alive! - 2/17/2010   5:32:00 AM
  • 186
    Hi ..my Calendar Age is 30.5, while my Real Age is 23 ...!! I'm very happy to know this and attribute this mostly to my lifestyle & fairly good eating habits. Still got a lot of areas for improvement like getting enough Vitamins in my diet ... will work on this and come back again in 3 months :)) ! - 2/17/2010   4:19:55 AM
  • 185
    I am 54 almost 55 and it has never bothered me. This may be hard to belive but I still feel like a kid. - 2/17/2010   3:23:23 AM
  • 184
    I took the real age test and at 70 my real age came in at 66. They suggested that I buy a bigger car to be "safer". Not going to happen!

    They also said that as an asthmatic, I should know what my FV1 is and get my asthma under better control!?! I haven't had an "attack" in I can't remember # of years. I take my medications regularly, rarely need to use my'emergency' inhaler. I walk aerobicly at least 4x per week. How much better control could I have? I have had asthma since I was 3 years old! I also do strength training a minimum of 3x/week!

    I suffer from depression, PTSD, and SAD and they said I really should cut back on those medications! O, really? As long as my therapist says I'm doing fine, and the perscribing shrink thinks my med level is fine, I'm not making any changes!!!

    I still have 30 lbs to loose, but my BMI is 29 and should should be under 25 by the time I'm at goal!

    I take no BP medicines, no cholesterol lowering drugs I thing I'm pretty healthy even if the real age folks don't think so! - 2/16/2010   11:49:08 PM
  • 183
    birth age 47.4
    real age 45.6 I'M OK WITH THIS - 2/16/2010   10:48:00 PM
  • 182
    I'm 27.5 and my real age is 24.5 - 2/16/2010   10:08:32 PM
  • ASLEDZ
    181
    I'm almost 24 in real life but I was only 18 for my Real Age! yay! I don't drink, smoke or eat red meat... and I live with my boyfriend and a dog. :) I'm pretty good with turning 24 as well though haha - 2/16/2010   10:04:56 PM

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