Strolling the corridors of your local museum with the kids on a Saturday afternoon might seem like just a fun pastime, but it could be much more than that. It’s long been known that the arts are good for our health. The World Health Organization even says that they play a crucial role in reducing poor health. And now, results from a new study show that attending art-related events could even be a factor in how long we live!
The research, conducted at University College London, aimed to determine whether or not being involved in the arts influenced mortality. With this in mind, they collected data from over 6,000 English adults over the age of 50 who participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. The data included information about whether the subjects attended galleries, exhibitions, museums, concerts, or theater performances, and how frequently they did so. Researchers also followed up with the subjects years later.
The researchers determined that those who attended an event related to the arts at least once or twice per year were 14 percent less likely to die during the study’s follow up period compared with those who didn’t attend any art-related events. But that’s not all: The researchers also concluded that those who attended an art event every three months or more had an even lesser chance of dying, with a 31 percent reduced risk compared with those not involved in the arts.
To think that regularly taking in a play or going to the opera can have such an effect on our health is pretty mind-boggling. Though this study is simply highlighting a correlation between art and longevity, not necessarily causation, (in other words, we don’t really know if art helps you live longer, though there seems to be an obvious link), it’s still something to think about. Either way, one thing’s for sure — art adds to your quality of life.
So if you find yourself with downtime this coming year, why not go see a show or check out a local art gallery with a special family member? We’re sure you won’t regret it, and that you’ll even feel happier!