Feeling Young Provides A Protective Buffer From Stress Damage - Save Our Bones

New research has found that people who feel younger than their chronological age experience a variety of health benefits as well as protection from the negative impact of stress. The scientists who published this study have collected clear data that illuminates the power of self-perception.

Today we'll examine this new research, and you’ll find out how to use this discovery to maintain your youthfulness and good health regardless of your chronological age.

About The Study

The study included 5,039 participants who were part of the German Ageing Survey. This survey consisted of residents of Germany aged 40 and older and covered three areas: perceived stress, functional health, and perceived age. It asked a series of questions that analyzed each factor.

Perceived stress was gauged with a series of questions such as “In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling so high that you could not overcome them?” They answered on a scale from “never” to “very often”.1

Functional health describes the participants' ability or inability to complete ten everyday activities like taking a walk, bathing, or getting dressed.

To record the participants' perceived age the survey simply asked the question, “How old do you feel?”1


The study is based on a survey of 5,039 German participants aged 40 and older. The survey assessed participants perceived stress, functional health, and perceived age.

Perceived Age, Stress, And Functional Health

The researchers charted the data points they gathered from the participants– chronological age, perceived age, perceived stress, and functional health– and then analyzed the patterns that emerged.

A key relationship that the study confirmed is between stress and functional health. The more stress a participant felt, the more likely they were to have a limited ability to perform daily tasks. In other words, if they experienced more stress it correlated to less functionality.1

Furthermore, the limitations became more severe the older the participants were. Stress was more damaging in older people than in younger people.1

However, participants who perceived themselves as younger than their chronological age didn't lose as much functionality in relation to the stress they experienced. In other words, participants who felt younger had better functional health despite the stress they experienced.

Feeling younger than their age provided what the researchers called a “protective buffer” against the negative impacts of stress.1

This is how the researchers described their findings:

“In this study, we found that greater perceived stress predicts a steeper decline in functional health in middle-aged and particularly in older adults. In contrast, a younger subjective age was a significant predictor of a less steep decline in functional health. Additionally, among individuals feeling younger, the detrimental effect of perceived stress on functional health change was weaker. This stress buffer effect of subjective age increased in size with chronological age.”1


The survey results showed that increased stress correlated to reduced functional health. This relationship was more severe in older people than younger people. However, those who perceived themselves as younger than their chronological age didn't lose as much functionality. Feeling young provided a protective buffer against the harmful impacts of stress.

Feel Young To Stay Young

The researchers concluded that interventions to help people feel younger can reduce the damage caused by stress and improve the health of older adults. While the study didn't cover potential interventions, the researchers suggested that public campaigns to promote positive perceptions of aging could help people feel younger.

Additionally, they recommend stress reduction as a tool to avoid the loss of functional health. Practices or interventions that help participants to manage and reduce stress will help them to remain independent and physically capable.

Stress is also directly tied to bone health. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol reduce bone density and quality, so stress reduction and management are also critical for preventing fractures.2

Furthermore, the link between functional health and perceived age means that feeling young makes you more likely to be able to engage in the physical activity required to build and maintain bone density.

It turns out that feeling young is another way to protect your bones.


Researchers suggest public campaigns to promote positive perceptions of aging to help people feel younger. Reducing stress helps avoid the loss of functional health. Stress also causes bone loss. Functional health is necessary to perform the physical activities that build and maintain healthy and strong bones.

What This Means To You

Figure out what makes you feel young, and do it. Maybe it's positive self-affirmations, dancing, or dressing up for an outing.

Another way to feel younger is to maintain your strength and fitness through exercise. The Save Institute created SaveTrainer to make that goal easy to accomplish. With SaveTrainer you can stream bone-building and anti-aging video workout classes to your computer, phone, or tablet on demand. From stress-reducing guided meditation sessions to targeted weight-bearing workouts, it has what you need to put this study's findings into action.

Chronologically, we're all getting older. But you can choose to live your life in a way that makes you feel younger. And that makes all the difference!


1 https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/pag-pag0000608.pdf

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10487665/

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Hilda

    I feel younger after I work out or run, which helps me to relieve the stress.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s great, Hilda! Keep up with your workout and running routine 🙂

  2. Jacquie

    I agree with your conclusion that it’s the factors causing a person to feel young, that also help us avoid or better deal with stress. I love what I’m doing in life (teaching/directing improv comedy, making neighbors and strangers laugh when out and about); and facing tough situations with humor really helps mitigate the stress of same. A hearty “Amen!” to daily physical exercise, good nutrition, and doing what brings you joy. Wishes to all Savers to find your best pathways to increased vitality, exuberance, and spirit!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Jacquie, thanks for your inspirational comment! I’m sure all Savers will appreciate it 🙂

  3. Sandra

    Can this program help you even if your height has gone down by 2 inches and you have been told you have osteoporosis after you took the dexa scan?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sandra, the program can help you strengthen your bones regardless of their condition.

  4. Carmen

    Why I’m still colouring my hair lol! Loving the Save trainer workouts!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Keep working out to feel younger and build stronger bones!

  5. Adi Bosworth

    Remembering that we’re not our bodies but eternal spirit souls within temporary bodies and that these bodies are the vehicles by which we can perform service to God and His creations.
    Also, not eating animals makes my body feel younger than it’s 71 years.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for sharing your views on this topic, Adi!

  6. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Ita!

  7. Jenny Graves

    I find the best way to feel younger is not to look in the mirror too closely! :))

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA


  8. Sheila Cameron

    If this was a ‘snapshot’ study, as the summary suggests, might it not be that they better health you experience, the younger you feel? If I am ill, I sometimes feel about 90. When well, about 30!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Absolutely! A sense of wellbeing will make you feel younger and stronger 🙂

  9. Purvi

    It is amazing to find some one to do such positive,encouraging and enlightening work in this challenging time. hats off. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I appreciate your kind words, Purvi, and it’s my pleasure!

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