The people who power-walk the mall in the morning may be on to something. A recent study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found elderly men and women (age 65+) who took daily shopping trips had an increased chance of living longer. There’s more involved with increasing your lifespan than just spending money, though. Here are some of the factors researchers considered in their findings.
The study was performed on around 2,000 men and women in Taiwan. Amazingly, it found those who shopped every day lowered their risk of death 27 percent over those who don’t shop frequently.
You don’t need a ton of cash to make the shopping health plan work for you, either. Study participants who described their financial situation as “very difficult” were more likely to shop every day. Although, there’s no way of knowing if extreme-shopping caused the “very difficult” financial situation in the first place, so use discretion.
Men vs. Women
We’ve all seen the husband sitting outside the women’s dressing room, holding a partner’s purse with a vacant, defeated expression on their face. While it appears they may die of boredom any minute, the study found men who shop daily receive greater health benefits than women who shop daily. Men who shopped daily were 28-percent less likely to die. Women who shop every day were only about 23-percent less likely to die.
Hopefully you’ve decided to read this far before rushing out to the mall to extend your life. The study shows that shopping daily can increase lifespan, but it doesn’t factor in many common health issues that may contribute to longevity.
Smoking, drinking, diet, heart disease and family history are all factors not considered in this study. Shopping might get you on your feet and out of the house, but it still can’t beat genetics.
Researchers feel the social aspect of shopping is one of the biggest factors in improving health. Shopping provides an environment where people can develop friendships outside the home. For older people who live alone, regular social interaction tends to increase both happiness and brain activity.
Make a List
Even if I make a shopping list, I always manage to forget a few things at the store. Research suggests that, even if you leave a few things off your list, making the list is most important.
A poll by America’s Research Group found 90 percent of people 70 or older use a shopping list. In comparison, the national average of people who use a shopping list is only 72 percent. Apparently the focus and organization required to make a shopping list increases brain activity, which may play a part in longevity.
The benefits of shopping are actually not that new. Many leading academic institutions have performed studies about how shopping can improve your health.
In 2008, Brunel University in England found shopping increased the release of chemicals in the brain that cause positive thinking and pleasure. This release can cause positive impacts on the immune system and keep the brain sharp. However, if you’d prefer to have a tooth pulled than shop, it’s unlikely you’ll receive these health benefits.
Another study by researchers at MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford discovered the pleasure center of the brain is stimulated when individuals are shown products they want to buy. In even better news, the study also showed window shopping achieved the same effect!