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New University College London study shows happiness helps physical wellness for elderly

6:48 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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Michael Loh, 74, says being active is the key to his well-being.


(CBS News)-- "I love ballroom, I love the technique of ballroom and Latin, the fun of Latin," Balkin said.

At 66 - she takes six dance classes a week in London.

She compared her active lifestyle to her younger days, saying she's more active now than ever before.

"Yes, I'm just out every day; I can't stay in! I have to be out every day."

New research suggests Alexandra's positive outlook will help her stay healthy longer.

"What we found is that older people who enjoy their lives, that have enjoyment in their friends and in their own lives, seem to have a slower decline of physical function," explained University College London Professor Andrew Steptoe.

Researchers at the University interviewed more than 3,000 people from age 60 to over one hundred - and followed their lives for eight years.

They found happy people could walk faster and were less likely to develop problems with everyday physical activities --  such as dressing or getting out of bed.

Michael Loh, 74, says being active is the key to his well-being.

"I'd say I'm very happy, as long as my health is good!"

The study also found that unhappy people are more than three times as likely as their happy friends to have trouble keeping up the pace as they grow older.

-Tina Kraus, CBS News

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