Community and Love Add Years to Life
We often beat ourselves up when we eat something “unsanctioned” by the health authorities, and tend to take our friends, family, and communities for granted.
Author Elizabeth Somer, in her book Age-Proof Your Body, reports that having the following things in your life are equivalent to adding an extra year onto your life expectancy:
- Being in a long-term, satisfying relationship
- Having close friends
Author Malcolm Gladwell supports this with a story he tells in his new book, Outliers. He discusses the story of Rosetta, an Itailan community in Mississippi that had much lower levels of death due to heart disease, cancer, and lived well into their 100s.
Doctors who studied Rosetta’s statistics were baffled, since they were not necessarily doing more of the “healthy things” that they were expected to do: they ate plenty of red meat, starches, and many still smoked. Finally, doctors settled on the assumption that these people were healthier because they had a happier and stronger community.
Neighbours knew each other, people would look care for the less fortunate, and overall, the sense of community was quite strong.
So the next time you skip a workout day, make up for it by going out with friends or family. It’s loads healthier than allowing yourself to feel stressed and guilty over the workout.
Photo credit: Sarah Yates Photography