7 longevity assumptions that are wrong

Scientists who tracked 1,500 people over eight decades have discovered much of what has been taught about how to live a long life may be incorrect.

In 1921, just over 1,500 Californian children were selected to participate in a study led by a Stanford University psychologist and they were tracked over 80 years to their deaths. Researchers who took on the data in 2011 shattered some conventional longevity assumptions:

Longevity project says pets don't necessarily help you live longer1. Optimism and Positive Thinking Extends Life:

The Assumption: Cheerful and optimistic people were less likely to live to an old age than their more staid and sober counterparts.

The Reality:Pessimists say they’re in poor health and optimists may say they are in great health even when their health is equal.

The Conclusion: Pessimism may not be bad for you.

2. Worrying is Terrible for You

The Assumption: People who tend to worry excessively die younger.

The Reality: Female worriers die younger than their relaxed counterparts.  However this impact was muted when women described themselves as in control of their lives and had friends. Men who worried in their younger years are less likely to die than their counterparts. Older men who worry fret about their health and take better care of themselves.

The Conclusion: Worrying might be good for you if you are in control of your life and use worry to stay on top of issues.

3. Married People Automatically Live Longer

The Assumption: People live longer if they are married or are in long term committed relationships

The Reality: Married men do indeed live longer than unmarried men, but but women see little or no longevity boost from marriage. Divorced women live almost as long as steadily married women. Men who divorce die younger.

The Conclusion: Marriage is good for men’s longevity. Divorce is bad. Marriage is neutral or not good for women’s longevity.

4. Vigorous Exercise Beats Slower Paced Activity

The Assumption: Hardcore intense exercise will extend your life

The Reality: Exercise is good for you, but excessive time consumed doing it in your youth will on gain you a few years of life.

The Conclusion: Exercise if you like it. Don’t force yourself if you hate it. Find something you like to do and stick with it.

5. Religious People Live Longer

The Assumption: Religious people tend to live longer than those who aren’t religious

The Reality: Religious women live longer somewhat. Religious men not so much.

The Conclusion: Religious women live a cleaner life because of their habits: Less booze, drugs, and smoking. The benefits of faith for men get erased or nullified by their families and their careers.

6. Workaholics Die Younger

The Assumption: Type A workaholics that work long hours and struggle to get ahead are likely to succumb to stress related illnesses

The Reality:  People who continue to work during their 70s, or are focused on other accomplishments, lived dramatically longer than those who take it easy.

The Conclusion: Stay mentally engaged as you age with activities that interest you and give you purpose

7. Pet Owners Live Longer

The Assumption: People who own pets live longer.

The Reality: The Longevity Project reported that there is zero connection between frequency with which you play with your pet  and your lifespan. It found there is no association between pet ownership and longevity. However there are many non-longevity related benefits to owning a dog or cat

The Conclusion:  Pets can bring joy, but research suggests getting a pet solely for the health benefits is ill advised.

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