The mind-body connection continues to amaze. New research reveals a connection between happiness and increased fitness in older adults. A large study of men and women aged 60 and older suggests that enjoyment of life contributes to a healthier and more active old age, as well as to a longer life.
Most of us share goals of remaining independent, keeping mentally sharp and staying as mobile as possible as we age. Researchers at University College London conducted the study to discover whether a positive outlook is related to reduced physical impairment over a period of eight years. They collected data on:
- physical health
- walking speed and mobility
- enjoyment of life
- and levels of impairment in daily activities
Their findings showed strong associations between physical function and life enjoyment. Older people who enjoy life are at lower risk of developing problems with daily activities and for declines in physical function. Once again, a positive mental attitude contributes to a healthy body.
The study, as reported in Idea Fitness Journal, May 2014, is available in Canadian Medical Association Journal (2014;doi: 10.1503/cmaj.131155).
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