Sticking two fingers up to our age-phobic society, a new article in the Times delved into the latest statistics to reveal the ‘best’ age to do everything – from running marathons to feeling satisfied in the bedroom – and some of them are bound to surprise you…
AGE 8: Learn A Language
According to research, you’ll have more success with a second language if you start before puberty – ideally at age seven or eight. The earlier you start, the more receptive you are to learning new information without overthinking or wondering if you really need to know it.
AGE 17: Take Your Driving Test
Government figures reveal you’re more likely to pass your driving test it you take it aged 17. At this age, pass rates are the highest (58% for boys and 53% for girls) – they then fall steadily throughout life to about 35% in your fifties.
AGE 25: Build Muscle, Remember Things & Make Friends
It seems lots of things peak aged 25 – muscle mass for one (it declines 5% each decade following your mid-twenties), along with short-term memory. It’s also the age of ‘peak friendship’, according analysis of the phone records of 3.2 million people by Oxford University, who found people’s social circles begin to contract after 25.
AGE 28: Run A Marathon
Aerobic fitness may peak between 23 and 25 – ideal for running shorter races – but marathon running requires speed, strength, endurance and experience of running long distances. One study of the New York marathon found 18-year-olds take as long to finish as 55-year-olds, with people aged 28 coming in fastest on average.
AGE 29: Have An Original Idea
Researchers studying the ages of people granted patents for new inventions found that 29 was the average age to have an innovative idea. They also noted the age was increasing by 0.6 years every decade.
AGE 30: Get Married
Getting married between the ages of 28 and 32 will give you the best chance of avoiding divorce, according to a recent study. Before 32, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11%, and after that, the odds of divorce increase by 5% per year.
AGE 31: Have A Baby
Women’s fertility begins to decline at around age 32, and accelerates rapidly from 37. Researchers at the University of Texas found that 31 was the ideal age as it increased the likelihood of women feeling fit and energetic in middle and old age, and reduced the risk of chronic disease and pain in later life.
AGE 32: Go On A Diet
At 32, women are most likely to stick to a diet. Apparently, this is due to having a strong desire to look good just after turning 30 – by the time people reach their fourties and fifties, they’re more likely to be happier embracing middle age.
AGE 36: Look Your Best
This is apparently the age most women ask their doctor to make them look when they go in for anti-ageing treatments. As for women say they feel most attractive and confident, surveys put the age somewhere between 31 and 39.
AGE 38: Have Botox
Injecting Botox into wrinkles before they’re too pronounced – otherwise known as preventative Botox – is becoming increasingly popular, as dermatologists agree it’s better to prevent wrinkles with light touches of injectables, rather than starting from scratch after age 50, when ageing begins to accelerate.
AGE 40: Do Your Best Work
Research by the US National Bureau of Economic Research shows that 40 is the age at which most Nobel prize-winning work is conducted, and also the age at which most people succeed at their (more mundane) careers.
AGE 43: Concentrate Well
Research suggests 43 is the age when most people have the greatest capacity to remain attentive. Younger adults may have quicker reaction times, but older people surpass them when it comes to stored knowledge – meaning they can actually concentrate better.
AGE 48: Go on HRT
The average age at which women in the UK begin menopause is 51, and as research suggests symptoms last around 7.4 years, the best date to start HRT could be 48. Of course, everyone is different and doctors advise beginning HRT if and when you feel it is right for you.
AGE 50: Do Maths In Your Head & Make Financial Decisions
The peak for mental maths is age 50 – possibly because older adults have more experience, allowing them to use a better mix of strategies to calculate sums in their heads. Age 49 is also the age many people’s salary’s peak, meaning 50 could be a wise time to make savvy financial choices.
AGE 65: Resolve Conflicts
According to a study analysing which age group was the most successful at resolving conflict, people aged 60 to 90 were the best at seeing different points of view and coming up with solutions. The researches also concluded wisdom appeared to peak age 65.
AGE 66: Give Up Work & Have Great Sex
The jury’s out on whether these two things are related, but 66 is looking like a pretty appealing age. If you want to live longer, delaying retirement by just one year from 65 to 66 could be the answer, according to researchers from State University. And more research from dating website Match.com found that women say they have their best sex age 66 (and men at 64).
AGE 69: Be Happy
A study at the London School of Economics found that people aged 69 were at the peak of wellbeing. There was also a smaller peak at 23, and the lowest point was between the ages of 45 and 54. Here’s to getting older!