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New Research Points to 3 Things That Affect Longevity

By Jiri Kaloc

Everyone wants to know the secret to a long life and, thankfully, that goes for researchers too. Two recent studies reveal a few important things we can all focus on to live long. Let’s take a look at what they observed.

Good living environment

A recent study from Washington State University showed that people who live in highly-walkable, mixed-age communities may be more likely to get to 100 years old. Researchers analysed 145,000 people who died at the age of 75 or older. Then they assigned a score to different environmental variables for the neighbourhoods they lived in. They looked at things like poverty levels, access to transit and primary care, walkability, percentage of the working-age population, rural-urban status, air pollution, and green-space exposure.

London Cycling
Cycling along The Millennium Bridge in London © Profimedia

They found that increased neighbourhood walkability, lower education level, higher socioeconomic status, and a higher percentage of the working-age population were positively associated with reaching the centenarian age. They also observed that small towns and higher socioeconomic neighbourhoods in cities best fit the description.

Social engagement

A new study from the University of Otago examined data relating to 292 people who reached the age of 100. They also included 103,377 people who were over 60 years old. All of these people were living in private accommodation, not in any type of residential care. The results suggest that there are two secrets to longevity – not smoking and being socially engaged.

“Electing not to smoke and committing to maintain social networking will be the best investment one can make towards successful ageing. Being socially active means physically going out of your home and away from families and interacting with people whether that is visiting friends, volunteering or participating in activities such as attending a concert or playing golf,” says leads author Associate Professor Yoram Barak.

Urban Cycling
The walkability of a neighbourhood as an important factor © Profimedia

Easily-accessible exercise

Both abovementioned studies have one thing in common: they confirm that people who have easy access to regular exercise have a higher chance of living longer. The Otago study researchers said that most participants reported some physical activity, however, those with the highest physical-activity levels were at the lowest risk of dementia.

The Washington state study clearly pointed to the walkability of a neighbourhood as an important factor. The lead author said: “Our findings support the big push in growing urban centres toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores.”

Whether you choose to walk or bike, it seems like the ability to regularly move is important if you want to enjoy a long life. That’s good news for everyone that loves cycling, like us!