Night owls take note! Early risers who remain active throughout the day tend to be more content and sharper mentally, especially in older age. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh report that seniors who get up early and stay busy all day long are both happier and perform better on cognitive tests in comparison to those with more irregular daily activity patterns.
The importance of staying busy, especially as one grows older, is well documented. This new research, however, suggests patterns of activity, not just activity intensity, are vital to both healthy aging and mental health.
“There’s something about getting going early, staying active all day and following the same routine each day that seems to be protecting older adults,” says lead study author Stephen Smagula, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Pitt, in a statement. “What’s exciting about these findings is that activity patterns are under voluntary control, which means that making intentional changes to one’s daily routine could improve health and wellness.”