A Strong Sense of Purpose May Help Elderly Stay Fit and Active 

The research found that elderly with a greater sense of purpose are less likely to lose grip strength or walking speed when compared to their peers who didn't show as much faith in life or existence in general

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A Strong Sense of Purpose May Help Elderly Stay Fit and Active
A sense of purpose in life may help older adults to stay more physically active than their peers lacking the same conviction in life, suggests a latest study. The research found that elderly with a greater sense of purpose are less likely to lose grip strength or walking speed when compared to their peers who didn’t show as much faith in life or existence in general.

As one ages, it is natural to lose the sense of optimism, but the latest study may make you want to get the zeal back. For the study, the team examined nationally representative survey data on how adults over age 50 thought about their purpose in life. Then, they followed participants over four years to see what happened to two indicators of physical fitness in the elderly: grip strength and walking speed.
The research found that elderly with a greater sense of purpose are less likely to lose grip strength or walking speed in the follow up when compared to their peers who didn’t show as much faith in life or existence in general.The findings also revealed that those with the highest sense of purpose were even somewhat likely to gain grip strength and improve walking speed.
The aim of the study is to help people maintain a ‘reason to get up in the morning’ at a large scale, which may be able to help more older adults stave off declines in physical functioning, noted the researchers. 
For the study, the team examined the data they collected in 2006 and 2010 as part of the Health and Retirement Survey. They had different groups of people in the analyses for grip strength and walking speed. Right at the start of the study, people in the grip-strength group were 63 years old on average. Among the 4,486 with adequate grip strength at the start, 426, or about one in 10, developed weak grip strength by the end of the study.
In the walking speed group, at the beginning of the study participants were 71 years old, among 1,461 with adequate walking function at the start, 687, or nearly half, developed slow walking speed by the end of the study.
For the study, the team also went through data from psychological questionnaires to see how participants thought about their purpose in life. They calculated the average level of sense of purpose, and then also looked into and studied what happened for each incremental increase above the average.
The research published in the JAMA Psychiatry, revealed that for each one-increment,  increase in sense of purpose in life was linked  with a 13 percent lower risk of developing weak grip strength and a 14 percent reduction in the odds of developing slow walking speed. 
The researchers also noted that among people with the strongest sense of purpose, it was very likely for the grip strength to increase, as was walking speed, but the walking-speed improvements were too small to rule out the possibility they were due to chance.
The researchers noted that the study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how a greater sense of purpose in life might make older adults stronger or fitter. However the results added enough evidence to the impact of psychological wellbeing might on physical health. Purpose in life is robustly protective against many negative health and psychological outcomes. There are number of ways of staying optimistic and cultivating a purpose in life, like volunteering, learning new things, and cultivating relationships, hobbies and interests.
Here are some foods that may cheer you up.
1.  Cherries

They can actually work like painkillers and make you feel relaxed. Low in calories and high on fibre, cherries are a great source of melatonin a hormone that helps you sleep well too. 

2. Beetroot

They are great sources of B vitamin folate that helps in boosting your mood. Beets are also packed with betaine. Betaine is used by our brain to produce SAM-e that acts as natural anti-depressant.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes get their colour due to the presence of a compound called lycopene. Lycopene helps in regulating your mood. Besides this, it also contains folate, magnesium and iron that help in producing mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
tomato 650

 

4. Bananas

Here's a reason to go bananas! They contain mood-boosting elements like dopamineand Vitamin B6. Most doctors would recommend having a banana in the morning that'll keep you at ease throughout the day.
banana


5. Walnuts

Walnuts are dense with anti-oxidants, magnesium and omega-3. Magnesium is known to keep one's mood steady by regulating the blood sugar levels. It had been seen that a deficiency of magnesium may make a person feel irritable, anxious and agitated.
 

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