People who enjoy life maintain better physical function as they age

January 20, 2014
Science Daily/Canadian Medical Association Journal
People who enjoy life maintain better physical function in daily activities and keep up faster walking speeds as they age, compared with people who enjoy life less, according to a new study.

"The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age," states Dr. Andrew Steptoe, UCL. "They are less likely to develop impairments in activities of daily living such as dressing or getting in or out of bed, and their walking speed declines at a slower rate than those who enjoy life less."

People with low well-being were more than three times as likely as their positive counterparts to develop problems in their daily physical activities.

"This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset, since even when we take these factors into account, the relationship persists," Steptoe says. "Our previous work has shown that older people with greater enjoyment of life are more likely to survive over the next 8 years; what this study shows is that they also keep up better physical function."

"Our results provide further evidence that enjoyment of life is relevant to the future disability and mobility of older people," Steptoe and coauthors conclude. "Efforts to enhance well-being at older ages may have benefits to society and health care systems."
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140120121441.htm

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