A health tip that’s actually fun to follow

By • Published: August 4th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Many recommendations doctors give for better health are no fun: cut back on sweets, take medications that sometimes cause nasty side effects and undergo regular colonoscopies.

But here’s a tip for better health we bet you won’t mind. You might even appreciate it. Regularly take a break from your busy schedule of chores, career and errands for a few cultural activities. You may see an improvement in your mood and general health.

A report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health shows a link between overall healthfulness and observing or participating in cultural events, such as plays, sports events, club meetings, museum visits, religious activities and workout sessions.

A survey of more than 50,000 Norwegians showed those who frequently watched or participated in these types of activities reported higher scores of happiness and health than those who participated infrequently, or not at all.

The researchers emphasized the study shows a link between these activities and health, not a cause-and-effect relationship. More study is needed to determine the exact connection. But the scientists do propose a possible reason for the link.

Immersing yourself in a fun activity often takes your mind off the pressures of daily life. Research has shown that reducing stress cuts back on DNA damage and levels of a substance in the body that is linked with disease.

The study yielded another interesting result: Men seem to benefit from these activities more than women do. While people of both genders who frequented cultural activities were more likely to report good health than infrequent or non-participants, the difference between the two groups was greater for males.

Guys, take note: Maybe going to the symphony or museum with your wife isn’t such a bad idea. It might leave you both with a little extra spring in your step.