Enjoying life could be the key to living longer, according to a new study of 10,000 people.
Researchers from University College London have found that those who enjoy life the most in middle age are three times more likely to live longer than those who enjoy it the least.
According to the study, levels of happiness among over-50s had a significant bearing the onset of disability, slower walking speed and incidence of coronary heart disease.
The team tracked the psychological well-being of 10,000 people aged 50 to 100 over a period of nine years, as part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing carried out by academics from University College London, Manchester University, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and NatCen Social Research.
The participants were interviewed three times between 2002 and 2011, and their enjoyment of life was tested using three measures of psychological well-being.
They found that those recorded as having the greatest enjoyment of life at first interview were more likely than other participants to still be alive nine or 10 years later. Professor Andrew Steptoe, who led this part of the research, said:
"What we have found is over a nine year period that about 20% of people will pass away during this time.
"What we found is that out of those people in the highest third of people with the most enjoyment, 9.9% died. Of people in the lowest third of enjoyment 28.8% of them died."
"This was the case even when factors such as age were taken into account; we still find this protective effect of enjoyment."
Researchers say that the kinds of people who are happy are the kind who take care of themselves and are also likely to be less stressed. To take care of your health, compare health insurance quotes online now.
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