Being healthy can make a person happy, but happiness itself may also lead to better health, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who enjoy life tend to maintain better physical function than those who don't in daily activities as they age.
The study included more than 3,000 people age 60 and older living in England, and followed them for eight years. The study participants reported how much they enjoyed life by rating statements such as "I enjoy the things that I do," and "I enjoy being in the company of others." [7 Things That Will Make You Happy]
Using in-person interviews, the researchers examined whether participants experienced impairments in their daily activities, such as getting out of bed, getting dressed or bathing. They also gauged participants' walking speedwith a gait test.
The results showed that happier people maintained better physical function as they aged, even when the researchers accounted for confounding factors such as age, healthier lifestyle and economic situation.
The unhappiest people in the study were about 80 percent more likely to develop impairments in daily functions, compared with the happiest, according to the study published today (Jan. 20) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The researchers also found that happier people's walking speed declines at a slower rate than those who enjoy life less," said Andrew Steptoe, director of Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London.
"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.
For the rest of the story: http://www.livescience.com/42712-happier-people-healthier-aging.html