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That spring in your step is more important than you think

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 21st, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

That spring in your step, especially among older people, has been proved to be much more important than was previously believed. According to the study, people who enjoy life maintain their ability to take care of themselves -- and they walk faster than those who rate their lives as less enjoyable.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Positive affective well-being, which is a clinical description of feelings of happiness and enjoyment, have been associated with longer life and less heart disease and stroke, scientists say.

The study, conducted in the United Kingdom examined the decline of functions in daily life and disability while aging. Scientists also looked at the more objective measure of walking speed.

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The study examined 3,199 people 60 years of age and older AS part of a long-term British study. The researchers wanted to know if two or more activities of daily living, such as dressing, feeding, were affected by the degree of enjoyment of life.

As published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, two or more impaired activities were found to have developed over eight years among 4.4 percent of the people who scored high in enjoyment of life on a questionnaire. The study also determined that 11.7 percent of those who scored in the medium category; and 16.8 percent of those who scored low. A higher walking speed over eight years also was associated with enjoyment of life.

"An 80 percent increase in odds of acquiring two or more impairments in activities of daily living over eight years among people with low compared with high enjoyment of life is striking," the researchers wrote.

participants were assessed on their enjoyment of life based on their response to statements such as "I enjoy being in the company of others" and "I feel full of energy these days." enjoyment of life was FOUND highest among the youngest, the most educated, the wealthiest and the married.

"Smoking, physical inactivity and less than daily alcohol consumption were also associated with lower enjoyment of life," the researchers said.

They also took into account such issues as clinical depression, saying, "The enjoyment of life is not simply the reverse of psychological distress."

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