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12.01.2017


Sports and voluntary work extend men's life expectancy - courses and hobbies extend that of women

Men over the age of 65 who are still planning on a long life do well if they go and do sports and voluntary activities. Women of the same age with the same goal do well by pursuing educational courses and hobbies. Japanese epidemiologists at Aichi Prefectural College of Nursing and Health discovered this.

Study
The Japanese researchers used data on over-65s that had been gathered by the Japanese government, and published in 2000. The government had looked at the life expectancy of the average 65+ person and what their life was like.

Results
The researchers' most interesting findings were about the participants' lifestyle. The more hours the participants spent on voluntary activities, classes or hobbies [Leisure time per day], the longer they lived.

The numbers in the table below are correlation coefficients. The nearer a correlation coefficient between two things is to 1, the stronger the relationship between the two. An asterisk next to a correlation coefficient indicates that the relationship was statistically significant.


Sports and voluntary work extend men's life expectancy - courses and hobbies extend that of women



Among the men it was sports and voluntary activities that increased their survival chances; among the women it was courses and hobbies that had a life-extending effect.

Conclusion
"In the present study, moreover, we found gender differences in the use of leisure time between men and women," wrote the Japanese. "For men, life expectancy at the age of 65 years was associated with much leisure time for sports and higher proportion of participation in volunteer activities in the community; for women, it was associated with much leisure time for hobbies and amusements and higher proportion of participation in educational classes."



Men over the age of 65 live longer if they feel they can still perform and be useful, is the researchers' interpretation. Women over the age of 65 live longer if they can gain new knowledge and amuse themselves.

Source:
Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 Jul-Aug;43(1):85-91.

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