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.