by Anna Maltby
Walter Chin Old age may be way far in the future, but isn't it kind of a bummer when you see your dear old Aunt Sally walking at a snail's pace or struggling with daily activities? Turns out, there may be a really fun way to stave off that kind of declining physical function: enjoying life! (Yes, it may just be that simple!)
Researchers from University College London looked at about 3,200 men and women aged 60 or older over an eight-year period -- they found that people who agreed with statements such as "I enjoy the things that I do" and "I enjoy the company of others" at the beginning of the study, which is being published this week in CMAJ, experienced a slower decline in physical function and a lower chance of developing impairments in everyday activities such as bathing, showering or cutting up food
See more: Easy Ways to Slim Down in 14 Days
"The first thing we thought about is, perhaps the reason for this effect is that people who do not enjoy life are already sick or have mobility problems, or perhaps they are depressed. When we measured these factors and added them to our analyses, they were responsible for part of the association between enjoyment of life and later function, but only part of it," lead author Andrew Steptoe told SELF. "Lifestyle factors such as regular physical activity and smoking do not appear to have been responsible, either. So we suspect that there may be direct links with biological processes in the body that influence physical function."
In other words, while there are a few other factors linking enjoyment of life (or lack thereof) and physical function, the researchers believe that enjoying life could, at least partly, directly help you age better.
See more: 5 Simple Steps to Cellulite-Free Skin
So how can you keep having a blast throughout life?
"Maintaining good social relationships is definitely important for mental well-being, as is doing things that bring meaning and purpose into one's life," Dr. Steptoe says. "And regular physical activity and healthy lifestyle also reduce the declines in function that take place as we get older."
Here's to someday being one of those bad-ass skydiving grandmas.