The willingness to take new challenges, live new experiences, enjoy the outdoors, form healthy relationships that encourage new ideas exchange, are crucial to healthy aging.
The famous “Nun Study” conducted by David Snowdon showed aging and Alzheimer’s disease don’t necessarily go hand in hand. There’s a significant impact of lifestyle on the development of degenerative memory diseases.
The Alzheimer’s “Nun Study”
In 1986 Snowdon start studying a group of 678 American Roman Catholic sisters, members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Interned with them for several years, Snowdon chose them because of their likely predictable and homogeneous conditions in comparison to any other group.
Usually, Nuns don’t present a history of drugs or substances abuse, have similar upbringings and backgrounds, similar reproductive histories and families.
Study findings are surprising: “Sisters with a higher level of education had lower risks of dying at any age.”
That is, there is a relationship between lifestyle and achieve a “satisfactory aging,” beyond being long-lived maintaining faculties to function independently in daily activities.
The study showed that among convent nuns, those prone to social interaction, who had more positive spirit, carried out new projects and who had continued their studies, present less risk to develop Alzheimer’s.
But I’m no nun!
Now, extrapolating the results to secular and conventional lifestyles, there is a relationship between educational level and a healthy lifestyle.
Consider “usually” at a higher educational level / better income the incidence of vices, poor nutrition, health insurance reduce dramatically.
However, as Snowdon points out himself, these findings apply to entire populations, not individual cases. The exceptions, as always, confirm the rules. We invite you to take control over your life and make your way to satisfactory golden years, living intensely every day.