By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Older people who are happier and enjoy life show slower declines in physical function, according to new research.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more.

The silver sneaker class at AFC Fitness in Bala Cynwyd designed just for seniors.

“It keeps you young.  It keeps you moving, keeps your blood circulating,” said Julia Davis, from East Falls.

We’ve known that staying active is critical for overall good health and disease prevention.  Now the new research says people who are happy stay healthy longer because they move more.

“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,” said Professor Andrew Steptoe, with led new research at the University College London.

Researchers interviewed more than three thousand people from age 60 to over 100 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.

I notice when I’m active I enjoy life.  If I sit down I don’t enjoy anything,” said Dick Brown, from University City.

“Keeping physically active as you get older is a vital, and it does keep you healthier.  It does help you feel better and do things more. And I think it leads to a better life, yes,” said Shelley Agris, from Bala Cynwyd.

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.

Previous research has shown happy, older people are more likely to live an extra eight years.

For more info on AFC Fitness Bala Cynwyd, click here.

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