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Many people know that staying active and socially engaged can make their golden years more enjoyable, but a new study has found that exercise, leisure activities and social connections can also enable seniors to have more of these years. The study of seniors, all over 75, found that those who were physically, mentally and socially active lived an average of 5.4 years longer than their inactive peers.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, followed 1,810 adults over age 75 for 18 years. Although 92 percent of participants had passed away by the time the study was over, researchers noted that those who lived the longest had participated in some sort of physical activity like swimming, walking or gymnastics. These individuals also engaged in leisure activities like reading or painting, had a large social network and did not smoke.
"Our results suggest that encouraging favorable lifestyle behaviors … even at advanced ages may enhance life expectancy, probably by reducing morbidity," the researchers concluded, according to the Assisted Living Federation of America.
This study is not the first to show a connection between an active, socially engaged lifestyle and a longer life. AARP reports exercise has been touted as the closest thing to a fountain of youth, while socializing has been proven to be an important factor in determining a person's longevity, and even stronger than other health factors like blood pressure and cholesterol, WebMD reports.
Sunrise Senior Living communities engage residents in a multitude of Programming & Activities that keep them active, both mentally and physically.