10 things that get better with age

Jane Murphy / 10 October 2017

From decision-making to migraines, lift your spirits with our list of things that start to improve as you mature.



Decision-making

Faced with a tough choice, older adults are far better at weighing up the long-term pros and cons of each option, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science. The reason? As we age, we're less inclined to be impulsive, and more likely to use our pre-frontal cortices – the areas of the brain where more rational, deliberative thinking is controlled, say the researchers. Plus, of course, we have the wisdom of experience to guide us.

Increase brain power with our healthy tips

Body confidence

When it comes to feeling comfortable and confident in swimwear, it's women aged between 24 and 34 who feel most uneasy, according to a recent survey by fashion retailer M&Co. Over-65s, on the other hand, are the most confident age group. Unsurprisingly, this group are also most likely to say they have 'more important things to worry about' than achieving a 'dream bikini body'. So it seems our sense of perspective improves with age, too...

Informative, in-depth and in the know: get the latest health news and info with Saga Magazine. Find out more

Allergies

You can develop an allergy at any age, admittedly – but it does seem that hay fever symptoms in particular often tend to dwindle over time.

Allergies and intolerances explained

Empathy

Think young people nowadays aren't as understanding towards one another as we once were? You may well be right. Well, that's according to a University of Michigan study that found college students are 40 per cent less empathetic than those of 30 years ago. Today's students, for instance, are less likely to agree with statements such as 'I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective.'

How to handle a narcissist

Risk of some cancers

Although the risk of many cancers – including the most common types – increases with age, some are more prevalent in younger people. A couple of examples? Highest rates of cervical cancer are found among younger women – with more than half diagnosed in the under-45s, according to Cancer Research UK (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org). And almost half of testicular cancer cases are diagnosed in men under 35.

10 early signs of cancer

Migraines

These debilitating headaches are most common between the ages of 30 and 40. Generally, migraine improves as we reach our 50s and 60s – with around 40 per cent of people no longer suffering attacks at all by the age of 65, says The Migraine Trust.

Still getting migraines? Find out more about the causes and treatments

Sleep

Subjective sleep quality – that's how well you feel you've slept, and whether it has a knock-on effect on your health – appears to improve with age, according to a survey of 155,000 adults at the University of Pennsylvania. Aside from a peak in sleep-related problems during middle age, it seems our chances of regularly enjoying a good night's slumber improve as we age. People in their 80s reported the best sleep.

10 reasons to get a better night’s sleep

Chances of developing IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is most common between the ages of 20 and 45. It's twice as prevalent among women, and some researchers believe it may be linked to changing hormones during the menstrual cycle, which is why risk plummets after the menopause.

8 IBS symptoms and lifestyle changes to make your life easier

Sex

Almost two-thirds of older women are satisfied with their sex lives, even though just one in five has a high sex drive, according to a survey from the University of San Diego. For many of us, it seems, physical closeness becomes more important than sex itself. However, 67 per cent of those who are sexually active say they achieve an orgasm 'most of the time' or 'always'.

Sex over 60 – what no one will tell you

Stress and anxiety

The older you are, the less anxious and stressed you're likely to be. So says a recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, in which researchers analysed mental health data collected from 1,546 US adults, aged between 21 and 99. While people in their 20s and 30s tended to report the highest levels of depression, anxiety and stress, those in their 90s were clearly the most content. So the older you get, the more resilient you'll become to life's stresses and strains.

What stress does to your health

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.