Life goes backwards at 40

Life doesn’t just begin at 40, it goes backwards, according to a survey that also says young people feel older than they actually are.

Today’s 20-somethings feel three years older than their birth certificate states and the average 30-something feels their actual age, but the average Brit aged 40+ feels 11.5 years younger than their actual age.

However, 20-30 somethings seem to have energy levels closer to those of retirees. More people in their 20s and 30s have a dip in their energy levels throughout the course of the day than any other age group, while 12% of 30-somethings don’t feel energetic at any point during the day at all – compared with only 6% of people in their 60s.

The survey was carried out by health insurer PruHealth, which rewards people for being healthy.

The research highlights how people in their 20s and 30s live unhealthier lifestyles than those in their 40s and 50s. The top three reasons for lower energy levels were identified as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and not getting enough sleep. However, little action appears to be being taken to counteract this with only 47% saying they eat a balanced diet, 18% never exercise, and a quarter sleep for less than six hours a night.

The older generation tends to follow a more balanced diet, eats less unhealthy foods such as takeaways, and participates in a similar level of exercise compared with the younger generation. However, as the over 40s require less calories than the under 40s this could be the key to their youthfulness.

Interestingly, people of all ages who feel younger than their real age are more likely to feel most energetic in the morning, while those who experience a peak in energy levels in the afternoon are more likely to feel older than their actual age.

Shaun Matisonn, CEO, PruHealth, said: “Finding time in your 30s to exercise and eat healthily can be especially difficult while you’re juggling a career and looking after a young family, but incorporating small steps in your daily routine, such as getting off the bus a stop early and snacking on fruit rather than crisps, can help make all the difference.”

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