Background: Finding ways to quantify resilience as a predictor of a person’s resistance to health challenges is important to improve healthy aging. This study investigated a unique sample of high-functioning older persons in whom traditional markers of frailty and functional decline are largely absent. Translating complex dynamical systems theory to humans, dynamical indicators of resilience in postural balance time series may sensitively discriminate levels of resilience. Methods: This study investigated 240 high-functioning older adults (mean age 83.9 ± 2.9 years, 59% male), of whom 94 hikers of the Nijmegen Four Days Marches. Participants stood upright on a force plate with eyes open and feet at shoulder width for 30 seconds. Center of pressure data were analyzed for dynamical indicators of resilience (variance and temporal autocorrelation). After 1 year, participants were compared on a modified Successful Aging Index. Results: Mediolateral center of pressure displacement of hikers exhibited significantly lower variance (2.2 vs 2.8 mm, p < .001) and temporal autocorrelation (0.59 vs 0.65, p = .006), compared with nonhikers. Multivariably adjusted, mediolateral variance was significantly associated with successful aging at baseline (b = −1.43, p = .003) and 1-year follow-up (b = −1.94, p < .001), while mediolateral temporal autocorrelation was not. Conclusions: Two dynamical indicators of resilience (variance and temporal autocorrelation) calculated on time series of mediolateral center of pressure displacement differed between hikers and nonhikers within a group of high-functioning older adults. In the whole group, variance was independently associated with successful aging at baseline and after 1 year. Our results support the hypothesis that resilience of older persons may be estimated from time series of natural fluctuations of bodily functions.
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences|
|Early online date||25 Jul 2018|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2019|