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Resilient Personality May Bring Better Aerobic Health
Date:3/1/2013

By Mary Brophy Marcus
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- If you have a resilient personality -- if you handle tough situations better or snap back well after a setback -- you're more likely to have better aerobic health, too, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine studied nearly 650 adults to learn more about the relationship between personality traits and physical fitness, specifically aerobic capacity and metabolic rate. Their findings were published online recently in the journal PLoS ONE.

Study author Dr. Antonio Terracciano, an associate professor of geriatrics, said it's difficult to know whether personality traits affect cardiovascular health or if it works the other way around -- if being more heart healthy makes a person more resilient. But what is clear is that the two are linked, the new study suggests, despite not proving a definitive cause-and-effect relationship.

"There is a reciprocal influence. If you have more energy, you may be more extroverted," Terracciano said. "But if you're more social you may be better at performing physical tasks. It's really difficult to distinguish which way it's going."

The four-year study included people ranging in age from 31 to 96 who are participating in ongoing research on aging from the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

Terracciano and his colleagues began by evaluating participants' personality traits -- their level of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The study participants were considered more "resilient" if they scored lower on neuroticism and higher on the other four personality traits.

The next step was to track each person's metabolic rate, or energy expenditure, while resting and when active. The scientists did this by measuring blood oxygen saturation, first testing participants at rest, then test
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