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Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day

If you want to live as long as possible, go out every day. Even if you have a fitness center indoors, good company and a full refrigerator, go outside. That advise comes from the Israeli geriatrician Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah Hebrew-University Medical Center. Exactly how frequent leaving the house reduces the chance of death is still a mystery...

Jeremy Jacobs and his colleagues used data collected in the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study. They followed several hundred men and women, born around 1920, from 1990 to 2015.

In all age groups, the chance of survival was greater when participants left their home every day. Below the data from the particapants of 70-78 years and those of the group of 90-95 years.

Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day

Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day

The figures for the other age groups are not much different.

People over seventy who leave their houses frequently may be healthier than those over 70 who always stay at home. But when the researchers brushed away the effect of health with statistical tricks, leaving the house daily still reduced the risk of dying. Those over seventy who leave their houses frequently may have more exercise than those over 70 who always stay at home. But even when the researchers corrected for physical activity, the link between mortality and leaving the home was still intact.

Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day

Do you want to live longer? Leave your house every day

Another possibility is that the participants who left the home daily have more social contacts, and so the researchers also corrected for loneliness. But even after that the association between leaving the house and mortality still existed.

No explanation
"Our findings reinforce the consistency of the relationship between leaving the house and mortality, not only irrespective of advancing age per se, but also independent of the rising burden of social vulnerability, functional decline, and medical comorbidity that was observed between ages 70 and 90", wrote the researchers.

"The current study adjusted for physical activity level, suggesting that the longer survival associated with frequently going out is independent of the benefits of physical activity."

"This observational study of a representative communitydwelling cohort found a significant association between frequency of leaving the house throughout follow-up from age 70 to 90 and mortality, adjusting for social, functional, and medical status", the researchers wrote.

"It is tempting to assume that the health of older people may be improved by increasing accessibility, creating environments that make it easier for them to leave the house, and improving social support aimed at encouraging activities outside of the house."

"Faced with the growing prevalence of homebound older people, interventions aimed at making it easier for older people to leave their house, encouraging an active nonsedentary lifestyle, and promoting continued engagement in activities outside of the home are required."

"Prospective studies are required to determine whether the negative outcomes and health burden associated with becoming increasingly homebound can be ameliorated, delayed, or even reversed."

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Nov 22. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15148. [Epub ahead of print].

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