We already know that a healthy lifestyle is a major factor in living a long life, but studies now show that having hobbies and staying socially active are equally important.
Learn more from these secrets to living a longer life, which show how mental and social activity are just as critical as physical activity when it comes to healthy aging.
Longevity in Seniors
What does it mean to have a healthy lifestyle as we age? Scientists are finding that if seniors want to live longer, it’s more than a matter of just eating right and staying fit — but we can’t forget that those are still important.
In fact, for seniors in a study conducted in Sweden, those who were physically active — getting regular exercise through gymnastics, swimming and walking — lived more than two years longer on average, and those who didn’t smoke lived a year longer than smokers. Diet is important too — those who are overweight or underweight are at greater risk of mortality as they age.
In the study on Swedish seniors, scientists also looked at factors that haven’t been studied as closely; namely, whether mental activity and social engagement also affect longevity.
The group of 1810 seniors age 75 and older were followed over an 18-year period and quizzed on their activities, and those who lived the longest had a number of characteristics in common:
- They did not smoke
- They engaged in a range of mental activities, productive hobbies and social activities
- They experienced regular physical activity
- They had a rich social network of family and friends
All told, the seniors who were active mentally, physically and socially were the most likely to live past the age of 90, and lived an average of 5.4 years longer than inactive seniors, reports the Assisted Living Federation of America.
Secrets to Living a Long Life
The researchers listed a wide range of leisure activities that are associated with health and longevity, aside from physical exercise.
The National Institute on Aging further notes that these activities can increase seniors’ sense of well-being as well as lowering the risk of some health problems, including dementia.
1. Mental Activities
- Doing crossword puzzles
- Playing a musical instrument
- Reading books
- Reading newspapers
2. Productive Activities
- Volunteering at a hospital or library
- Working a part-time job
3. Social Activities
- Going to concerts or performances
- Joining a senior center
- Playing cards
- Playing games
- Starting a book club
- Taking a class or course
- Visiting art museums
How active are the seniors in your lives? We want to hear your secrets to living and suggestions for longevity in the comments below.
Secrets to Living a Longer (Happier) Life posted by Sarah Stevenson.
For original post at a Place for Mom: