Based on new research published in the journal Gerontology, it appears that the saying “You are only as old as you feel” may be more accurate than you think!
More precisely, Bar-Ilan University researchers have discovered that keeping a young mindset for a long time is able to increase the odds of someone recovering faster from injury, even in old age!
The chances of completely rehabilitating from a variety of conditions and keeping disability and illness away, in general, are also apparently increased.
The scientists from multiple Israeli medical facilities tracked 194 participants with ages between 73 and 84 as they underwent rehabilitation programs for either strokes or osteoporotic fractures.
As you may know, both of these health issues are really common amongst seniors and can sadly lead to a loss of bodily freedom.
Each patient participating in the study was interviewed multiple times during their rehabilitation programs.
They were asked how young they felt, a phenomenon referred to as “subjective age” as well as their experiences and feelings.
In the meantime, the researchers measured functional independence by using the FIM (Functional Independence Measurement) test on two different occasions.
First, it was during the patients’ admission to the rehabilitation program and the second time, it happened at the end of the research when they were discharged a month later.
This way, the team was able to learn that those who gave a younger subjective age than their actual age showed better functional independence upon getting discharged from the program.
This was the case for all of them, regardless of whether they had been admitted with strokes or fractures.
In addition to that, the subjectively younger patients were more optimistic about their recovery as well.
Gerontology Program at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences’ Prof. Amit Shrira, shared in a media release that “The effect of subjective age at admission on functional independence at discharge was confirmed. However, the reverse effect — that of functional independence at admission on subjective age at discharge — was not confirmed. This supports the theory that a younger age identity is an important psychological construct which contributes to a more successful rehabilitation.”
Amazingly enough, this study’s authors determined that subjective age was the strongest rehabilitation outcome predictor, even more so than their actual age or any other additional health conditions.
Prof. Shrira stated that “Those who feel younger can maintain their good health and functioning for longer periods, and as the study shows, can recuperate better from any disability. Therefore, by perceiving themselves to age successfully people might preserve a healthy and vigorous lifestyle.”