A New Study Suggests Optimism Is “Just as Important as Exercise” When It Comes to Longevity

Your positive attitude could help you live past 90

Your positive attitude could be adding years to your life.
Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Good news for people who love to focus on good news: a new study has found that optimism may be just as important as exercise when it comes to helping you live past the age of 90.

Researchers for the study followed a group of 159,255 women and found that those who were optimists were more likely to live longer and past the age of 90 than those who were more pessimistic. According to their calculations, optimism is linked to a 5.4% increase in average lifespan. In other words, maintaining a positive outlook can add an extra 4.4 years to your life on average.

“Of note, exercise has been widely recognized as an important factor for health and studies have shown that regular exercise adds 0.4-4.2 years of life,” the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, reads. “Thus our findings suggest the impact of optimism may be comparable to that of exercise.”

The team found that this was true even when other factors like depression, chronic health conditions and racial, social and economic background were taken into account. And the more optimistic you are, the better: according to the study’s findings, women in the most optimistic group were 10% more likely to live past the age of 90 than those who were determined to be the least optimistic.

So if you’re looking to live well into your 90s, remember: the glass is always half-full.

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