Men and women with high mental well-being at the age of 42 were more physically active at the age of 50 compared to those who got lower scores in mental well-being at age 42. Different exercise activities are related to the different dimensions of well-being in midlife.
That`s what a new study published in Applied Research in Quality of Life concludes. For this study the data collected at the ages of 42 and 50 years (present N = 303) for the Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development of Jyväskylä in Finland was used.
Mental well-being was investigated through three dimensions: emotional, psychological and social well-being. Emotional well-being indicates overall satisfaction with life and a tendency to have positive feelings. Psychological well-being refers to experiences of personal growth and the purpose of life. Social well-being tells about relationships with other people and the community.
It was a surprise that leisure-time physical activity did not predict later mental well-being or subjective health, but mental well-being predicted physical activity.
“It seems that mental well-being is an important resource for maintaining a physically active lifestyle in midlife”, says Dr. Tiia Kekäläinen from the Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
Investigation of various leisure-time physical activities revealed that different activities are associated with the dimensions of well-being in 50-year-old men and women. Walking was related to emotional well-being, rambling in nature to social well-being and endurance training to subjective health.
“Although exercise did not predict later mental well-being or subjective health in this study, exercise is important for current mental well-being and health,” Kekäläinen says.
These associations were found among both men and women, but additionally, rambling in nature was linked to both emotional well-being and subjective health, but only among men.
Link to the study: