Aging Attitudes and Outcomes
I have believed for a long time that expectations impact health choices and behaviors, and therefore outcomes. Recent research by Catherine Sarkisian, M.D. documents the impact of attitudes and beliefs on aging well. According to this 2005 study if you think the years ahead will be better than the years behind, they will be. But if you expect your health to decline with age, you may actually encourage that to happen. How? By taking a why-bother attitude, especially about staying fit. No matter how old you are, 39, 59, or 99 — an age you should aim to reach—staying active and engaged in life provides you the best chance for health throughout the lifespan. Social connections, meaning and purpose, and learning positive strategies for processing emotions all contribute to a positive quality of life.
The research article titled, The Relationship Between Expectations for Aging and Physical Activity Among Older Adults, by Catherine A Sarkisian, MD, MSPH,1, et. al., can be found in the J. Gen Intern Med. 2005 October; 20(10): 911*915. Check out www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ to find this article and others related to healthy aging. The direct link to the full text of this article can be found at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1490218