Older people with regular activity routines feel happier

October 21, 2022
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Older people who awake early and stay active all day are more often in good spirits and show better results in doing cognitive assessment & function tests compared to those with erratic activities, new research led by Pitt scientists suggests. The findings issued in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry, show that regularity of patterns of activity – not just its intenseness – play an essential role in healthy ageing and mental well-being.

According to the study author Stephen Smagula, Ph.D., the public state-related research Pitt university, Pennsylvania, early get-ups, staying active all day, and doing the same scheduled activities on everyday basis seem to be beneficial for seniors.

The relation between physical activity and happiness

To discover more details about daily activities in senior people and establish relations with mental well-being and thinking abilities, the team of scientists headed by Smagula engaged 1,800 seniors age of whom over 65. These people used accelerometers – electronic sensors detecting movements that are often installed in phones and fitness devices. The members wore them on their wrists for one week to estimate activities, and they answered the questions to estimate symptoms of depressive disorder and thinking abilities. The results were the next:

  • 37.6% of members who were early risers, kept active all day, and had regular activities, were in a good mood, less pessimistic, and had better cognition compared to others.
  • 32.6% of members who also had scheduled daily routine but engaged themselves in physical activity for just 13.4 hours/daily due to longer night’s rest, later rise, or earlier settle-down, featured more signs of depressive disorder and worse cognitive abilities than the first category.
  • 29.8% of members who had non-arranged activities had the biggest level of depressive condition and did worst on memory exercises.

Scientists suggest that the link between mental well-being and regular activities goes not in one direction: Depressive disorder or decline in mental abilities (memory and thinking skills) can make it more difficult to adhere to a stable routine, and vice versa, featuring disarranged activity rhythms may impair these conditions. Behavioral pattern disarranging is very typical and related to health issues in senior citizens. This link is likely two-way, the most exciting thing here is that easy measures that each person can undertake can renew regular activities, and this may further enhance health.

What scientists advise

Now, Pitt scientists are working on checking their assumption that changing behavioral patterns to build up consonant daily activities will enhance thinking abilities and emotional, psychological, and social well-being in seniors. As noted by scientists, the first measure on the way to a stable routine is awaking at the same instant every day – regardless of how exhausted you may be. One more aspect that should be taken into consideration is planning to remain active all day. Sometimes this can be challenging, particularly when a person is feeling sick and passing therapy. That is why it is crucial to pick up comfortable activities a person is keen on.

The vast majority of people are mindful of the significance of sleep and physical activities, however, the lack of daily schedule is yet a problem. For this purpose, having things to get up for every day might be what’s essential for us to sleep and age well.

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