There are many healthy habits to adopt on a regular basis that can help encourage a longer life-especially as you age. For example, maintaining a nutritious diet is so important to feed your body with all the essentials it needs to function properly. Getting a good dose of exercise every day will help your body stay in top shape while dodge any chronic health condition. But there’s another pretty important thing that has nothing to do with diet or exercise that can help you live longer, especially once you hit 65. Keep reading to learn more.
According to data from the US Medicare Health Outcome Survey, men and women between the ages of 65 and 85 may have longer total life expectancy if they are married “until death do them part”. It’s true!
The study was performed by Medicare and published in the journal MHS – Population Health. An example provided in the search? According to the data, 65-year-old married men have an average total life expectancy of 18.6 years, which is 2.2 years longer than single men. Study participants of the same age (65) revealed a total life expectancy of 21.1 years, 1.5 years longer than being single at age 65.
Other research agrees with the data. The newspaper Health Psychology states that couples who would consider their marriage somewhere between very happy and somewhat happy are about 20% less likely to experience an early death (via TIME). They’re actually more likely to live longer than couples who would consider their marriage “not too happy.”
Why all the positivity about being hitched? Well, it could be due to many reasons, according to the study, including a healthier heart and waistline. According to Mark Whisman, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Boulder and co-author of this second study, a good marriage apparently improves your health. Married people may be more likely to encourage certain healthy routines, such as exercising, eating healthy, and getting necessary medical checkups. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?
Whisman also points out that supporting each other in a marriage can help individuals psychologically. Being married “gives people meaningful roles and identity, purpose in life, a sense of security,” Whisman says, adding, “These kinds of psychological factors can influence health.” A strong marriage can improve “mental health and well-being, which we know are associated with physical health.”
Another research that confirms the benefits of marriage? There is a link between loneliness and a higher death rate. A study was done in Sweden called Lundby’s Swedish Study. Out of 1363 participants, 296 people were considered to be living a solitary life. The research involved interviews over a period of 13 years. In the study, loneliness was associated with a 27% higher mortality risk overall.
A teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing. The key word here is “happy” when it comes to marriage. It is not suggested that the mere sanctity of marriage will magically solve your problems and help you live better and longer. But if you’re happy with someone at this stage of life, know that having a teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing – science says so!
Alexa is the associate editor of Eat This, Not That!’s Mind + Body, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling stories about fitness, wellness and self-care to readers. Read more