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Is the Glass Half-Full?

Promoting optimism may reduce heart disease risks.

Optimism and health

One’s outlook and attitude on life may have a significant impact on heart health. Optimism is linked with a longer life and a lower risk of cardiovascular events, while pessimism is linked with a higher risk of heart disease. Findings are based on a meta-analysis of 15 studies with 229,391 subjects. Optimism is commonly defined as the belief that good things will happen in the future and is associated with more effective goal-setting, problem-solving and coping skills. Future studies may seek to better define the “biobehavioral mechanisms” that underpin this association and evaluate whether or not there are benefits to providing interventions that promote optimism or reduce pessimism.

Fitness professionals can support their clients and participants by modeling a positive attitude and by learning behavior change tools and techniques via professional coaching programs and certifications. The study is available in JAMA Network Open (2019; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12200).

For ideas on how to train with more positivity, see “Training Happy,” in the January–February 2020 Fitness Journal.

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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