gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Successful Aging: A Perspective from Lifespan Psychology

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa005

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Staudinger.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



People have long sought after the fountain of youth, looking for ways to live longer and to improve the quality of life. Not only are people now living longer than in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the quality of life is also improving. What factors contribute to a successful later life? To answer this question we first need to define what successful means. Depending on whether objective or subjective criteria are used some predictors of successful aging differ and others overlap. When it comes to objective indicators such as longevity, health, or cognitive performance, research has shown that lifestyle choices seem to be crucial. Some of the psychosocial factors and behavioral factors are exercise, healthy diet, sense of efficacy and control, mental stimulation, and social support. When focussing on subjective criteria such as subjective well-being, a rich array of self-regulatory mechanisms but also social context characteristics have been identified. An integrating discussion of findings on successful aging from a lifespan perspective is offered.