You may be more likely to take fitness and relationship risks on the eve of a milestone birthday, a new study finds.
Facing down the big 3-0 (or 4-0 or 1-0-0) can be understandably scary. There's something about realizing you're on the brink of a whole new decade to make you rethink, well, everything. But a new study from NYU and UCLA says it isn't the zero-ended milestone birthdays you should be worried about—it's the ones right before. From running a marathon to having an affair, here are eight things you're more likely to do when your age ends in a nine.
After collecting data on eight million people registered on a dating website for people seeking extramarital affairs, researchers found that people 29, 39, 49, and 59 were nearly 18 percent more likely to be looking for a little something on the side than their other-aged peers. (But if you would rather want to spice up your current relationship, we've got Your Top 21 Sex Questions—Answered!)
You know those people who sit at the end of the bar and ask everyone who passes by, "But what is the point—of everything?" That could be you on a "nine year." The study looked at survey results from 42,063 adults from more than 100 countries and found that niners are more likely to question whether their lives were meaningful, and more likely to feel upset if they think they "failed" at answering the existential questions. “As we age, it’s good to understand this propensity so we’re more likely to make constructive rather than destructive choices, says Adam Alter, Ph.D., professor at NYU Stern and co-author of the paper.
The authors examined the ages of 500 first-time marathon runners randomly drawn from the Athlinks website, a site that compiles race times, and found 25 percent more “nine-enders” than other-aged runners. [Tweet this fact!]
Ending a decade can add a little extra spring to your step or oomph to your muscles. Runners ran about two percent faster at ages 29 and 39 than during the two years before and after those ages, according to the study. In addition, people who were at ages ending in nine were more likely to sign up at a gym or make other changes to improve their health. (Don't miss The Ultimate Strength Workout for Runners that targets all those primary muscles used during running.)
Forget the mid-life crisis! According to the study, people on the brink of a "zero year" are more likely to make large purchases like cosmetic surgery or luxury goods than in the years before or after. Alter says that being aware of this propensity to splurge during those specific years can help you make better purchasing decisions.
One of the best parts of aging is, well, realizing you're getting older. And you need to plan for that. The survey results found that at 29 or 39, people indicated they were more likely to buy life insurance or invest in a retirement account. (Also, now's the time to get prepared for life's trickiest challenges. Here are 8 of Life's Biggest Shake-Ups, Solved.)
Whether it's deciding to volunteer as a Big Sister or donating to disaster relief, according to the study, you're more likely to amp up your charitable giving, both in time and money, during the nine years.