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Happy seniors live longer healthier lives

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Dr. Andrew Steptoe of the University College in London has found that the best way to live longer and stay healthier is old age is to enjoy life.

This is not because the happier people are in better health, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles, it is because we have found that those who enjoy life are better able to handle physical activities such as eating, showering and dressing, and even walk faster,” he stated

In contrast, he found that those who were unhappy with their existence were nearly 80% more prone to have difficulty with basic functions of daily living.

Steptoe’s conclusions are based on an 8-year-term study involving approximately 3,200 seniors 60 years old and up. Those participating in the project were asked to rate how much they agreed with statements such as, “I enjoy being with in the company of other people,” and “I enjoy the things I do.” They were also questioned about the way they “negotiated” daily living.

All in all, Steptoe reported that only 4% of the people who “enjoyed life” had problems handling basic functions such as those listed above, while 17% of those who expressed the least enjoyment in their existence reported difficulties.

More importantly, medical tests involving the study subjects showed that cortisol levels were “32% higher among the least happy group, increasing their chances of developing abdominal fat, high blood pressure, diabetes and lower resistance to infection. Produced by the adrenal glands, Cortisol is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids

It was also found that the least “happy” people also had up to 12 times the plasma protein Fibrogen, produced by the liver to help stop bleeding by helping clots to form. Elevated levels of Fibrogen, however, have been linked with high risk of cardiovascular disease.

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