Enjoyment of life ‘key to living longer’

reposted from BBC News

Enjoyment of life ‘key to living longer’

By Hannah Richardson BBC News education and family reporter

Older cyclists
The study suggested those who were physically active remained healthy longer.
Those who enjoy life the most are three times more likely to live a little longer than those who enjoy it the least, a study of ageing suggests.

University College London researchers’ study of 10,000 English people also suggested future disability and poor health could be predicted by the state of a person’s mind.

The team said the effects were “large” and independent of age, sex and wealth.

Happiness could be used to spot people at risk of ill health, they added.

Researchers tracked the psychological well-being of 10,000 people aged 50 to 100 over nine years as part of the university’s English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

They interviewed the participants three times between 2002 and 2011, assessing them using three measures of psychological well-being and testing their enjoyment of life with a series of questions.

They found that those recorded as having the greatest enjoyment of life at first interview were more likely than other participants to still be alive nine or 10 years later.

‘Greater enjoyment’

“The difference between those who enjoyed life the most and those who enjoyed life the least was marked, with nearly three times more people dying in the lower than greater enjoyment group,” the study said.

Prof Andrew Steptoe, who led this part of the research, said: “What we have found is over a nine year period that about 20% of people will pass away during this time.

“What we found is that out of those people in the highest third of people with the most enjoyment, 9.9% died. Of people in the lowest third of enjoyment 28.8% of them died.

“This was the case even when factors such as age were taken into account, we still find this protective effect of enjoyment.”

‘Socially isolated’

Prof Steptoe said this could be happening because the kind of people who are happy are the kind who take care of themselves and are therefore quite healthy.

He also suggested that people of a happy disposition were less stressed.

And he also suggested that environmental factors, such as strong social networks, could be at play.

The report also found that one in six people in England aged over 50 were socially isolated.

The Elsa research team, which comprises researchers from UCL, NatCen Social Research, the University of Manchester, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found the wealthier over-50s were half as likely to become socially isolated than the least wealthy.

Having Pets Makes You Healthier, Happier and Live Longer!

Everyone who has ever owned a pet knows the joy and companionship they provide.  There is a growing body of research that indicates our furry friends can contribute to our health and well being .  Pets can enhance mood, alleviate depression and anxiety, reduce stress and even encourage physical fitness.  There are many benefits to owning a pet.  Here are a few.

Improved Mood and Alleviating Depression/Anxiety:

Just the simple act of petting a cat, dog or any furry creature has been found to alleviate depression and anxiety.  Pets can help improve mild to moderate depression just by being there.  The stress of the day can evaporate for a little while as soon as Fido greets you bursting with happiness and unconditional love.  Aquariums are great options for those who can’t have a furry critter as a pet.  Studies with Alzheimer’s patients have resulted in lowered anxiety just from looking at an aquarium for a few minutes.

 

Healthier Heart:

Owning a pet can result in lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.  One study conducted in Australia showed that men who own pets have less signs of heart disease.  As mentioned earlier, pets help reduce anxiety which is essentially stress.  Lower stress levels help to keep blood pressure under control.  Dog owners can especially benefit since they are more likely to exercise with their dog which ultimately enhances heart health.

Lower Incidence of Allergies:

Contrary to popular belief, children raised around furry pets or farm animals have a lower chance of developing allergies and asthma.  One study showed that infants with a dog in the home had less occurrences of allergies.

 

Physical Fitness for Dog Owners:

Dog owners are more likely to get the minimum recommended 150 minutes of exercise every week.  It’s easy to get that amount of exercise in when the dog needs to be walked every day.  Even playing fetch or tug of war with Fido increases physical fitness levels .

Pets just simply add fun and enjoyment to our lives.  Be it a cat, dog, guinea pig, hamster or fish, the right pet is out there for everyone.