Even before diet, sports and supplements, the secret of longevity according to some Israeli scientists is another …
The first secret of longevity? Strange, but true, it’s not the diet, although it matters (and a lot). Neither is physical activity, although it too is one of the keys to maintaining optimal health even in old age. According to a group of Israeli researchers the number one secret to good physical shape at any age is another …
The number one secret of longevity
What keeps us young, healthy and mentally more resilient is … Feeling young. In fact, some Israeli scholars from Bar-Ilan University have shown that, even in old age, having a youthful mindset improves your chances of successfully recovering from a range of illnesses and injuries.
Feeling young to stay young: studying
The research followed 194 adult patients, aged 73 to 84, being treated for osteoporotic fractures (usually caused by falls) and strokes in various rehabilitation centers in Israel. These are the two health conditions that older people fear most, because both put them at risk of losing their functional independence.
So, as doctors used to assess patients’ chances of physical independence at both hospitalization and discharge, the researchers interviewed them about their emotions, experiences, and how young they felt. The result? About a month after hospitalization, patients who felt younger showed greater functional independence. Not only that: those who felt younger recovered more quickly from trauma or illness because they had more hopes of recovering their physical and intellectual abilities. “This only confirms that having a youthful identity is an important psychological construct that contributes to more successful rehabilitation,” explains Prof. Amit Shrira of the Gerontology Program of the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.
Feeling young to stay healthy
Surprisingly, the patients’ subjective age – the one they thought they had – proved to be a very good predictor of rehabilitation times, more than actual age and previous chronic health conditions. “Those who feel younger can stay healthy for longer periods and, as our study shows, they are better able to recover from disability. Therefore, if we feel we are aging successfully, we can maintain a healthy and vigorous lifestyle, ”says Professor Shrira.
In light of the findings, the researchers suggest that physicians consider evaluating patients’ subjective age when designing protocols for their rehabilitation. Feeling psychologically younger helps you get back on your feetto the point where researchers are now preparing to figure out how to make older patients feel younger to help them rehabilitate more successfully. The first step? Correcting false beliefs about aging and using psychology to help patients change their negative view of aging: feeling young is the first step to aging better.
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