By Nordic Walking Watford at
New research shows that people who are more optimistic may actually live longer.
In a study of nearly 160,000 women, people with the highest optimism ratings had a 5.4% longer lifespan than those considered less optimistic. And a 10% greater likelihood of living beyond the age of 90.
“Most research suggests that individuals who are more optimistic are not unrealistic,” says lead investigator Hayami Koga, MD.
Instead, Koga says, they find ways to see the potential for more positive things to happen in the future. In part, she says, this may be because people often consider optimism to increase the ability to solve problems and tackle challenges.
Koga and colleagues noted that earlier studies have linked regular exercise to a gain of 0.2 to 4.4 years of life.
“Thus, our findings suggest the impact of optimism may be comparable to that of exercise,” they wrote.
“We hope that these results will highlight the value to focus on positive psychological factors, or resources, as possible new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging, especially if we see that these benefits are seen across racial and ethnic groups,” Koga says.
The benefits of optimism likely reach beyond longevity – higher levels of optimism have also been linked with better coping skills when dealing with stress and life challenges
While an exact mechanism can not be determined, it is likely due to a more optimistic life being less stressful – allowing for better heart health. People who are more optimistic stress less about the future, and their general outlook leads to positive thoughts, putting less of a burden on their hearts.
On the other hand, people who live more stressful lives, filled with anxiety and worry, are at increased risk of suffering chronic heart conditions.
So if you are a glass-half-empty person, try to adapt your mindset and see the positives. Oh, and come out Nordic Walking!
REF: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
NORDIC WALKING WATFORD