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Attitudes matter in an aging world (orbmedia.org)
88 points by imharvey 37 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments



Perhaps people who have a good attitude about old age are more likely to have had the experience of healthy parents and grandparents and thus are more likely to have genes that lead to a long healthspan.


My attitude to getting old is extremely tightly linked to my expectation of it following the shape that my father's later life did.

I've seen what is likely coming, and the only changes which matter are to lifestyle - not attitude.


"people who have a positive attitude about getting older, live longer"

The conclusion might as well be the other way round: people who have health problems when getting older are more likely to have a negative attitude about getting older and will probably die at a younger age than people without health issues.


Except there's no suggestion that the people who were thinking negatively about old age actually had worse health at that stage.

The headline is rather misleading, the study suggested that where older people are more respected in a society, they tend to live longer.


But what if countries with a better attitude towards the elderly are also correlated with a higher likelihood of being ok with their taxes going to health care for the old? It doesn't necessarily have to do with respect.


What, places like Pakistan, you mean?


Stupid article. Is there any age at which having a positive attitude isn't overall helpful?

The issue with old age is the random serious illness lottery and really nothing else.


I wish more people would continue living youthfully into adulthood, and continue to do so for as long as possible, with the limits of old age being an emergent phenomenon forced onto them rather than something they unwittingly eagerly pursued through laziness and boredom.

If you ride a bicycle every day, barring some injury forcing a prolonged break, you'll continue to be able to deep into old age. Anything we practice regularly we retain the ability to do. "Use it or lose it."

My fellow Americans in general tend to cease most physical activity once they get a driver's license. From that point on, it's a life of sitting in chairs of various forms, day in, day out. The body adapts to this, and by their 30s it's already non-trivial just to sit on the floor and get back up unassisted.

Don't stop playing outside, riding bicycles, running, frolicking, all the behaviors of youth - don't stop just because you're an "adult". Do this all, do it as much as possible, all of your life, until you're physically unable. This, in my opinion, is the dominant factor in aging well.


I wish there were more free playgrounds that can also be used by adults, spread around like the ones for kids. I also like ropeways, climbing high, swings etc. Instead adults get boring repetive-movement fitness equipment.


> I wish there were more free playgrounds that can also be used by adults, spread around like the ones for kids. I also like ropeways, climbing high, swings etc.

It's not a major investment on your part. Buy a few ropes, a swing and make your own in your garden or a nearby forest.

If you live in a location which prevents you from living a healthy life, perhaps you should think about moving.


Hm, good point. The idea was to have it accessible for everyone, not just me, and to get bigger and nicer stuff. Some equipment on kids' can actually be used by all of the heaviest adults, but it's not allowed. Build it a bit more stable, maybe bigger and just allow it..


Maybe I'm just lucky, but there is outdoor "gym" gear in plenty of places where I live, free to use for anyone. Including monkey bars and such.

As for specifically fitness as an activity, there is plenty of types of exercise that favor body weight exercises and free weights over machines. Crossfit is obviously the big trendy one, but there are many other types out there.


Nono, I'm talking about fun equipment, not gym style. Adult-compatible and -allowed ropeways (also without seats, you just hang on) and slides and seesaws and carousels.

The local indoor playground used to have an evening where they inflated the inflatable structures a bit more and only let adults in (so no crushed kids). You can power yourself out very fast like that, especially if you bring some friends. That's the feeling I want, not a gym.


It's really unfortunate how the fear of being perceived as a child molester effectively makes all these spaces off-limits to childless adult men.

Like others have mentioned, it's fairly easy and cheap to erect some of these things at home, if you have your own property.


Join a bouldering gym.


I actually plan to, but there's so much overhead and it's a personal solution.


There was a good article in The Guardian last week[1] about Laird Hamilton the surfer and his older pal Don who at 83 still rides his mountain bike and surfs his paddle board. Laird Hamilton is an exceptional guy but Don shows what we could all attempt with a good attitude.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17301633


Yes. And I think we should follow the example of animals here. E.g. an old chimpanzee never thinks: I'm old, so I better not climb that tree.


Healthier people have better attitudes.


That's circular.


Yes, it is circular by nature.


And when you split something into 2 components, 'healthy' and 'unhealthy' and both are circular by nature, what happens, besides the obvious affect on you and everyone you identify with?


Positive feedback cycle?


It's still a divide, social attitudes can shape behavior and health just as much.

Honestly, I don't know how to be positive about this. Some people experience events in life that are beyond their control, that shape their attitudes. Those attitudes may be judged by a 'healthy attitude' population as 'unhealthy attitudes'.

This ostracizes a portion of the population and can lead to a negative feedback cycle for an individual, because they literally can't learn how to have a 'healthy attitude'. The best they can do likely, is be neutral (i.e. compromise).

Empathy and awareness are 'healthy' too, even if for the moment, it affects that positive feedback loop you've got in your mind. It's the minutia that don't matter, and when it comes to judgement of attitudes, it's honestly extremely difficult to differentiate between overall trends and insignificant correlative details in practice.

The person with the 'unhealthy attitude' may just be wearing a mask of someone they were heavily influenced by, and they may simply not have the resources or the 'luck' to have encountered learning otherwise. All of this can be incredibly draining and isn't your duty or obligation to 'correct', but I think that's where acceptance and tolerance come in.

My point is not everyone has to have the same style mind in order to be considered 'healthy'. People can survive (quite contently) without constantly thinking positive and having to outwardly serve as proxies to reinforce attitudes so we can all convince ourselves 'we are happy and healthy and the future will be swell'. You need all types of people in life to have the world function and improve.

Honestly sometimes I think some people can become terrified to be anything besides positive, and that limits their freedom of speech and ability to grow.


> Some people experience events in life that are beyond their control, that shape their attitudes.

I would say, rather, that peoples attitudes shape their responses to events in life that are beyond their control.


I think that's an attitude that's based on how one sees one's sense of self. If you have to function primarily by basically, being reminded of yourself through people who act like you used to, then you don't have the same perception of what a self is, or what an attitude is. Because you see how attitudes build through attitudes beyond your control.


I think one of the best ways to maintain youth and health in your advancing years is to continue to work.


maintain youth and health in your advancing years is to continue to work.

Define “work”. Manual labour? Sitting in an office? Both have negative health impacts. The sort of work that prolongs quality of life is only a subset of the work there is economic demand for. A job which is active but not strenuous, basically. Most jobs are either physically hard work or mainly sedentary, with not much in between.


Work: a purpose for being, and making you feel socially useful.


Where do you get that these days? It's increasingly hard to find it on the job market.


In an industry averse to employing older workers it’s probably a mistake to rely on your employer to provide meaning to your life.


Correlation =/= causation. Can't be said often enough.


Sometimes correlation isn't causation, but if we just say "correlation =/= causation" every time something happens we'll never discover anything. If two things are correlated it's at least worth investigating further, and quite often turns out to be a causal link.


And its definitely worth examining if there is a rational, simple hypothesis that implies a relationship between the two. Here, that is clearly the case: could what you think about something impact your health? It doesnt seem like such a stretch to believe so (see placebos, etc)

On the other hand, if you found a correlation between butter exports in India and mortality rates, you probably shouldnt dig further into whether there’s a causation relationship. It fails the Occam’s Razor test missrably.


You are right, but in my opinion the page/writer completely fails when they don't explain and clearly state that the possibility of "correlation =/= causation" exists. And it fails because we lose 80% of the people to blind belief towards what the article says, and from the other 20%, 15% are saying "correlation =/= causation", and a 4% like you are saying in response: "sure, but that's something we need to investigate to tell".

I understand that the balance between science and selling the science is hard, but it can be done, and imho they could be doing it better.


I'm reasonably sure that the set of things that are correlated is much, much larger than the set of things that have a causal relationship. Check for example http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations


The number of things that aren't correlated is waaaaaaay bigger. It's still worth investigating when there's a possible link.


But... correlation includes causation so if you want to find the causation you should do a quick test to see if you have correlation. Because is cheaper. THIS can't be said often enough. What you said I heard a ton of.


Came here to post this.




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