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How museum visits can extend our lives
A recent study suggests that visits to museums, art galleries, concerts and similar cultural events have a positive impact on our life expectancy. So we should probably increase our cultural engagement if we want to live longer.
The latest study by University College London found that there is a connection between our cultural engagement and our longevity. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "BMJ".
Cultural engagement reduces the risk of premature death
If people visited museums, art galleries, exhibitions, the theater, concerts or the opera at least once or twice a year, the risk of premature death was reduced by 14 percent, the researchers report.
The risk of premature death was reduced by 31 percent
If people were more involved in art activities, the risk of premature death was reduced by as much as 31 percent, regardless of demographic, socio-economic, health, behavioral and social factors.
Over 6,700 people took part in the study
During the examination, 6,710 people aged 50 years or older were medically monitored over a period of 14 years. The starting point for the study was previous research that linked artistic engagement to longevity by alleviating chronic stress and depression and providing emotional, cognitive, and social resources.
What does active participation do?
The researchers specifically focused on cultural activities, including visits to theaters, concerts, the opera, museums, art galleries and exhibitions. The effects of going to the cinema were not taken into account. However, they were unable to assess the potential overlap with active participation in cultural activities, which must be analyzed in further studies.
Results remained consistent
After analysis of sensitivity, it was found that the associations between art engagement and longevity are consistent when adjusted for any mobility problems and socio-economic status.
Does knowledge make aging more successful?
When considering what might explain this connection, the researchers suspect that cultural engagement improves people's access to knowledge and other important resources and thus helps them to age successfully.
Does cultural engagement improve the sense of the meaning of life?
Other possibilities for the observed effect on life expectancy include, for example, that cultural engagement improves the sense of the meaning of life, helps regulate emotions, protects against stress and builds creativity, which improves people's ability to adapt to changing living conditions .
Should young people already deal with art?
It could not be determined whether cultural engagement should start at a young age to improve our longevity. However, it will hardly have any negative effects if people are introduced to art and culture at a young age. So why not motivate your children to visit a museum with you or to carry out similar cultural activities. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Daisy Fancourt, Andrew Steptoe: The art of life and death: 14 year follow-up analyzes of associations between arts engagement and mortality in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, in BMJ (query: 30.12.2019), BMJ