How being happy could make you FIT: Cheerful people walk faster and are more active in old age


There are many obvious benefits to being happy, but new research suggests it could also make you fitter.
A study revealed people who enjoy life walk more quickly and are more active in old age than unhappy people.
Happy elderly people also have less trouble getting out of bed, getting dressed and showering.
Participants in the 60 to 69 age bracket had higher levels of well-being, as did those with higher socio-economic status and education and those who were married and working.
Not surprisingly, people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke and depression had lower levels of enjoyment of life.
People with low well-being were more than three times as likely as their positive counterparts to develop problems in their daily physical activities.
Dr Steptoe added: ‘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.
‘Our previous work has shown that older people with greater enjoyment of life are more likely to survive over the next eight 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.
‘Efforts to enhance well-being at older ages may have benefits to society and health care systems.’
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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