Dr Claudia Kawas, from the University of California, did a study into 'super agers' and the results will make you very happy. So called 'super agers' live beyond 90 and enjoy a thriving social life through their golden years. Dr Kawas identified five lifestyle factors associated with living to a ripe old age: having hobbies, doing exercise, drinking one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, being slightly overweight, and drinking coffee. The data from the ‘90+’ study tracked 1,700 people in their 90s in 2003 and found that on the alcohol front alone, people who had roughly two glasses of beer or wine per day had an 18% reduced risk of premature death. Spending at least two hours a day on a hobby reduced risk by 21%, and taking 15-45 minutes of moderate exercise lowered risk by 11%.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas, Professor Kawas said: "I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity. [Also] The best mortality experience is to gain between five and ten pounds per decade." It turns out that human biology is geared towards adding eight weight later in life, and being slightly overweight but not obese seems to do out health the best favour as we age. Previous studies have also suggested that an alcoholic drink a night could lower the chances of a heart attack or heart disease, so the official word on a casual tipple seems very positive.
Dr Kawas ended her speech urging some caution with her latest advice:
"People should try to incorporate as many of these things into their day if they wish to give themselves the best chance of living to a ripe age but our data shows none of these lifestyle factors make any difference to the likelihood you will develop dementia. I almost think we should stop doing research and just start using our bodies and brains more. These people are inspiring – they drink wine, drink coffee, gain weight, but they exercise and use their brains. Maybe that can tell us something."