A long-term research, known as The 90+ Study, revealed some interesting statistics about longevity. Scientists were surprised to learn that the risk of premature death is lowered by 18% if you consume alcohol in low quantities (around 2 glasses of beer or wine per day). Meanwhile, exercising 15 to 45 minutes daily reduces the risk of early death by 11%.
This data seems a bit odd when looking at other studies which portray alcohol as carcinogenic.
“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” said neurologist Claudia Kawas from the University of California, that initiated the study in 2003.
Since then, Kawas has been studying a group of over 1,600 people over the age of 90. Scientists paid visits to the participants biannually. They performed various tests, such as cognitive, neuropsychological and physical ones. Researchers also collected data on the participant’s medical history, hobbies, diet, and daily activities.
Another curious discovery was that people who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people. The team found that 90-year-olds who were a bit overweight, but not obese, had their chances of premature death lowered by 3 percent.
“It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” stated Kawas.
Other findings on longevity showed that people who spent about two hours daily on a hobby lowered their risk of premature death by 21 percent. Meanwhile, subjects who drank two cups of coffee each day saw the risk fall by 10 percent.
“These people are inspiring — they drink wine, drink coffee, gain weight, but they exercise and use their brains. Maybe that can tell us something,” Kawas added.
Other major findings discovered by the team are:
- Over 40% of people aged 90 and older suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in women than men.
- About half of people with dementia over age 90 do not have sufficient neuropathology in their brain to explain their cognitive loss.
- People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.
So, who is to tell that we can’t live our lives in a fun way? Perhaps the people who lived to be 90 were more relaxed than the ones who didn’t. Maybe this counts more than imposing restrictions upon ourselves. Maybe we should pay more attention to our desires, engaging more in our hobbies, and relax every night with a glass or two of wine. It doesn’t sound that bad, does it? I, for one, think I will subscribe to these simple ‘rules’ of living. Will you?