Several studies of aging and mental health show that happiness and emotional well-being improve over time. As adults age, they exhibit increased emotional control, enabling them to avoid stressful situations and negative experiences.
Speaking at the convention of the American Psychological Association in Toronto, Susan Turk Charles of the University of California, Irvine, remarked that “we know that older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter. They want to make the best of it, so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy.”
While the findings presented at the convention may not apply to aging adults living in stressful situations or those with dementia, the general population may very well enjoy increased happiness with age. Other reports showcased in Toronto also point to the value of strong social connections in overall cognitive health and reduction of stress in older adults.
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Exercise to Prevent Cognitive Decline
A number of studies have suggested that engaging in physical exercise helps to ward off cognitive decline as we age. Yonas Geda, from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and colleagues studied 1,324 men and women, aged 70 to 89, who did not have dementia at the study’s start. The subjects completed a physical-exercise questionnaire for a two-year period, after which they were assessed by a medical team and individually classified as having normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. A total of 198 participants (median age 83) were identified as having mild cognitive impairment, and 1,126 (median age 80) had normal cognition.
Subjects who reported performing moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, aerobics, yoga, strength training or swimming—during midlife or late life were less likely to have mild cognitive impairment. Midlife moderate exercise was associated with a 39 percent reduction in the odds of developing the condition, and moderate exercise in late life was associated with a 32 percent reduction. Neither light exercise (such as bowling, slow dancing or golfing with a cart) nor vigorous exercise (including jogging, skiing and racquetball) were associated with reduced risk for mild cognitive impairment. The researchers conclude that “any frequency of moderate exercise performed in midlife or late life was associated with a reduced odds of having [mild cognitive impairment].”
—Dr. Bob Goldman
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Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA's Center for Devices & Radiological Health.
Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the 'Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.
In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.