New research shows that our happiest days may not actually take place in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’. Experts and many people over 50 agree: When we choose to be happy and take steps toward that state of mind, the golden years are more likely to be truly golden. As Frank Sinatra crooned, “The best is yet to come…” It seems like science couldn’t agree more.
“Our research shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” says Dr. Andrew Steptoe at the University of London. Dr. Steptoe and his colleagues conducted an eight-year study on the connection between aging and positive wellbeing and recently published their findings in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Among other things, their study showed that seniors over age 60 who registered a high level of happiness had a higher walking speed and were more likely to be able to continue with normal life activities, such as staying independent in and around the home.
Other recent research corroborates that happier people live better and longer. Laura Carstensen, Ph.D. of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity says that “spending our days doing things that make us happy in turn generates greater happiness and gratitude – and gratitude and happiness are inextricably linked.”
Age Is Just a Number
With celebrities like Betty White and Bob Newhart publicly playing out the idea that “age is just a number,” and rock stars like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan continuing to tour after age 70, it’s easy to see the face of aging America changing – for the better! Says Cloris Leachman, actress, dancer and eight-time Emmy Award winner, “There might be bad moments, but there is always something good about the day. It’s all in how you choose to look at things. Happiness is a choice and we have to cultivate it within.”
Exercise Keeps The Mind, Body and Spirits Lifted
A powerful tool for lifting mood and spirit is physical exercise. In fact, it is well documented that exercise plays a powerful and consistent role in alleviating depression and anxiety. There are many options; walking, social dance, bike riding, regular strength training, swimming, tennis and other full-body activities are all good choices. The plan could be as individual as you are!
Want Some Inspiration?
Check out the links below.
Meet Tao Porchon-Lynch and rethink flexibility.
Think about a couple of regular healthy habits to adopt like this fine gentleman.
86 and still moving! Let Johanna inspire you!
Prime Movers at Ladera Oaks
Also, look for our Prime Movers: Tips for Aging Well series here at the Club. It’s a full program of workshops, classes and information on everything from adapting exercises as we age to how to get up from the floor. And remember this: A recent Gallup survey suggests that if one follows the trend of aging adults, one will probably be happier at 85 than they were at 18. Now that is good news!
Elizabeth, Fitness Director