A trip to the theater, museum or art gallery could help you live longer. And the more often you get that culture fix the better, a new study suggests.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) found that people who engaged in the arts more frequently — every few months or more — had a 31% lower risk of dying early when compared to those who didn’t. Even going to the theater or museum once or twice a year was linked with a 14% lower risk.
Engaging with the arts can act as a buffer against stress and build creativity that allows people to adapt to changing circumstances. It also helps people build social capital — accessing emotional support and information that helps people age more successfully.
“We also thought that a greater sense of purpose could play a role,” Daisy Fancourt, an author of the study said. “If this (study) is added to the larger body of evidence, we are getting an increasingly rich picture on how arts can benefit health and it’s not about one single outcome. It can have wide ranging benefits and support healthier lives lived longer.”
I – Word Understanding
Culture fix – a cultural activity experienced (by someone)
Buffer – prevention
Social capital – relationship among people in a society
II – Have Your Say
1. What are the common art and cultural activities in your area? What is/are your favorites?
2. In your own observation, how does the following factors affect a person’s engagement in art and cultural activities?
3. According to the paper, everyone should have the chance to take part in cultural activities but notes that there are growing concerns about the decline in art subjects in schools and universities. What is the situation in your country’s education system?