Well Being

~ some current developments and practicals

How we think about ourselves affects our fitness

Two groups of 70 year olds watched words flashed on a screen that were to do with self image. One group saw only negative words normally associated with old age, such as senile, dependent, unwell. The other group saw only positive words, such as wise, mature, accomplished.

At the beginning of the study both groups scored the same on a standard fitness test. Afterwards there was no change in the group who saw only the negative words, but a dramatic increase in fitness in the group who saw only positive words. The effect was the same as 12 weeks of strength training.

Becca Levy has pioneered this research, and has shown that the way older people think about themselves can have an effect on their memory, self confidence and even the will to live in older people.

These studies were specifically about stereotypes of older people, however it has implications for all ages, as it shows that how we think about ourselves affects fitness, health and well being.

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