Happiness is the key to health in old age

older-happy-people

Staying happy and enjoying life appear to be the key to staying healthy in old   age with depressed people far more likely to suffer health problems,   researchers found.

Enjoying life is the key to healthy aging, claim scientists, after finding   that happy people are fitter and healthier.

Those who enjoy life walk at a faster pace and are more physically active on a   daily basis when they get older compared to unhappy people, scientists found.

Happy pensioners had less trouble getting out of bed, getting dressed or   showering.

In contrast unhappy people were twice as likely to have health problems like   heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis.

But researchers said it wasn’t simply because ill health or mobility problems   made people miserable.

“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   of University College London.

“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.

“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.”

Researchers from University College London assessed 3,199 men and women aged   60 years or over living in England and examined the link between positive   well-being and physical well-being over the space of eight years.

They were divided into three age categories: 60-69, 70-79 and 80 years or over   and were asked about their enjoyment of life with a four-point scale.

They rated questions “I enjoy the things that I do,” “I enjoy being in the   company of others,” “On balance, I look back on my life with a sense of   happiness” and “I feel full of energy these days.”

Researchers then used personal interviews to determine whether participants   had impairments in daily activities such as getting out of bed, getting   dressed, bathing or showering. They gauged walking speed with a gait test.

Participants in the 60-69-year bracket had higher levels of well-being as did   those with higher socioeconomic status and education and those who were   married and working.

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

“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,” said Dr Steptoe

“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.

Όσοι απολαμβάνουν τη ζωή έχουν καλύτερη κινητικότητα και υγεία στα γεράματα

IUNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Όσοι απολαμβάνουν τη ζωή, διατηρούν καλύτερη υγεία και μεγαλύτερες σωματικές ικανότητες όσο γερνάνε, μπορώντας π.χ. να περπατήσουν πιο γρήγορα, σε σχέση με όσους δεν ευχαριστιούνται και πολύ τη ζωή τους, σύμφωνα με μια νέα βρετανική επιστημονική έρευνα (με ελληνική συμμετοχή).  Τα άτομα με χαμηλά επίπεδα ευχαρίστησης στη ζωή τους εμφανίζουν υπερτριπλάσια πιθανότητα ανάπτυξης καθημερινών σωματικών προβλημάτων, σε σχέση με όσους έχουν μια θετική και αισιόδοξη προσέγγιση του κόσμου. Επιπλέον, οι τελευταίοι έχουν μεγαλύτερη πιθανότητα να ζήσουν περισσότερα χρόνια σε σχέση με τους απαισιόδοξους.

Πρόκειται για άλλη μια μελέτη που αναδεικνύει τη σημασία του ψυχολογικού παράγοντα για τη διατήρηση της σωματικής ευεξίας ιδίως κατά την τρίτη ηλικία, όταν το σώμα αρχίζει να «προδίδει» τους ανθρώπους. «Τα ευρήματά μας δείχνουν πως η απόλαυση της ζωής έχει άμεση σχέση με τα μελλοντικά προβλήματα κινητικότητας των ηλικιωμένων», ανέφεραν οι επιστήμονες.

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