It appears the secret to living a long life is to just enjoy it. In a study of 3,199 men and women aged 60 years or older over an eight year period, those who had a positive outlook on life had fewer physical impairments than those whose dispositions were darker.
“The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” said Dr. Andrew Steptoe at the 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.”
Researches found that those with low well-being were more than three times as likely than those with a positive outlook to develop physical problems such as heart disease, arthritis, and strokes.
“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 said. “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,” Steptoe continued. “Efforts to enhance well-being at older ages may have benefits to society and health care systems.”
It looks like the old adage to “turn that frown upside down” is more than a fun rhyme. It could be a life saver.