It doesn't matter how old you are, but how old you feel. This is the phrase that we all hear from a certain point onwards. Generally considered only a mere consolation, today we can prove that this statement corresponds precisely to the truth. In fact, feeling younger than your chronological age is linked to better health, of body and mind, and to a better ability to recover after illness or injury. This emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Gerontology by an Israeli team (Kalir et al, Gerontology, May 2022).
If you feel young you are even better in health
Previous studies had already observed that feeling younger than you are represents a valid indicator for predicting physical and mental health in future years. In particular, a subjective age lower than the chronological one is associated with a higher level of well-being, less mental stress and greater physical health. To better understand this association, Israeli researchers have developed the study we are talking about today, in which the link between subjective age and the ability to recover after illness or injury is evaluated.
Subjective age and ability to recover from injury or illness, the study
Scientists surveyed 194 adults, aged 73 to 84, upon admission to rehabilitation facilities following stroke or fractures caused by falls. Patients were asked to indicate how young they felt compared to their chronological age, but also their level of optimism and satisfaction. After a month, at the time of discharge, the nursing staff indicated, by means of a score, the degree of functional independence achieved, understood as the ability to move and carry out the various daily activities alone or with assistance. Well, it emerged that those who at the time of admission felt younger than their chronological age also had, at the time of discharge, a higher score in terms of their ability to carry out daily activities independently. This means that those who felt younger than their chronological age showed a better capacity for recovery following illnesses or fractures, regardless of the date of birth or other illnesses present at the time of admission.
Here, then, is scientific proof that what matters is the age we feel, rather than our true age. And then those who feel young also walk at a faster pace, which is maintained with advancing age, effectively slowing down the aging processes (Stephan et al, Age, 2015). It is appropriate to say it, the most important thing is to feel young inside and for the first time it is not really a phrase of circumstance.