Engagement in leisure activities has been claimed to be highly beneficial in the elderly. Practicing such activities is supposed to help older adults to preserve cognitive function, physical function, and mental health, and thus to contribute to successful aging. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the impact of leisure activities on these constructs in a large sample of Japanese older adults (N = 809; age range 72–74). The model exhibited an excellent fit (CFI = 1); engaging in leisure activities was positively associated with all the three successful aging indicators. These findings corroborate previous research carried out in Western countries and extend its validity to the population of Eastern older adults. Albeit correlational in nature, these results suggest that active engagement in leisure activities can help older adults to maintain cognitive, physical, and mental health. Future research will clarify whether there is a causal relationship between engagement in leisure activities and successful aging.
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