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Why book clubs help you live longer

18 February 2016

From The Guardian:

Name: Book clubs.

Age: Nothing but a number.

Appearance: The very elixir of eternal life.

Really? Book clubs make you live for ever? Well, no. But they might make you live a little longer.

Because in my friend’s book club, everybody drinks enough wine to fell an elephant. It’s only true if you’re part of a certain demographic.

Explain yourself. According to results published this week in BMJ Open, a UK medical journal, people enjoy healthier lives if they maintain social bonds after they retire. Something like a book club, where you regularly meet friends and chat, can significantly reduce your risk of death in the first six years post-retirement.

So it’s the social interaction that keeps you alive, not the book club itself? That’s right. You could also be a member of a sporting club or a church society.

So I wouldn’t actually have to read the books? I suppose not. Like you said, it’s the social interaction that counts.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Books in General

4 Comments to “Why book clubs help you live longer”

  1. Probably it’s the social interaction. I once had a coworker who was working part time after her retirement because she thought it might not be a coincidence that so many people die within a few years of retiring. She didn’t feel like dying so she decided to keep busy instead, including keeping a little granddaughter. The plan seems to have worked so far …

    If there is a connection between longevity and social interaction, then the “gets killed jussst before retiring trope” will have to be tweaked a little 🙂

  2. We’re both retired now.

    I keep kicking the husband out of the house to DO something – so I can write.

    He goes to Chemistry lectures at Princeton, I can write.

    Works like a charm.

  3. I’ve seen a stark illustration of the benefits of keeping busy and connected after retirement in two different couples in my family.

    Mr. and Mrs. A retired 15 years ago or so. Since then, they’ve not done much (Mr. A used to do a little volunteer work and go to poker nights, Mrs. A used to spend time with grandchildren until the kids got too old for that), and in recent years they’ve quit doing even that. They ran into a spell of health problems and have never really recovered, and are now just sitting around waiting to die, basically. Their family history says they could live another 5-10 years, but they’re in much worse shape now than their parents were at the same age.

    Mr. and Mrs. B retired 10+ years ago. Since then, they’ve kept involved in professional activities, clubs (yes, including book clubs), church, travel, family reunions, hobbies, exercise, etc. Mr. B plays in a dance band and gives lectures in an adult continuing education series, Mrs. B leads tours at the botanical gardens, only slowing down slightly for two knee replacements and breast cancer treatment, and discovered a talent for drawing and watercolors. They’ve lived longer than 3 of their 4 parents by a good four or five years so far, and appear on track to live a good bit longer.

    So it’s pretty clear. Stay connected, stay busy with enjoyable and meaningful activities. Chances are you’ll live longer, and you’ll enjoy those years much more.

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