Returning to School: A Vital Key to Sustained Longevity?

In the quest for activities to keep us engaged and learning in later life, have you ever considered heading back to the lecture halls? Not only does it stimulate our minds, but recent research has linked returning to education with a longer, healthier life.

This linkage is highlighted in an article by Science Alert titled “Staying in School Linked to Living Longer and Slower Aging”. According to an analysis of data from 3,101 individuals across three generations, spending more time in school may result in less wear and tear on our cells and consequently, a longer life. But why?

This question has puzzled researchers from the US, UK, and Norway. Traditionally, the correlation between education and longevity was attributed to better job prospects, increased wealth, and therefore better healthcare access. However, this new research suggests something more—our bodies might age slower if we’ve spent more time in school.

Extrapolating from the research, an additional two years of schooling could result in an average of 2-3 percent slower aging. These findings spring from data of the Framingham Heart Study, a long-time research project monitoring residents since 1948. This project highlighted the connection between education and biological aging for the first time.

Notably, researchers explored ‘educational mobility’, or the amount of education achieved relative to one’s parents and siblings. This was a way around the confounding variable of people with different education levels having different resources. From this approach, upward educational mobility was linked to slower aging and decreased risk of death.

However, the question remains: why does this happen? Proponents of better education argue that it provides access to better healthcare and a healthier lifestyle. But the researchers concur that more studies are required to conclusively understand the mechanism behind this association.

Regardless of the mystery, these findings underscore the importance and potential health benefits of promoting further education—especially as we age. So, that idea of signing up for a college course may not just keep you engaged; it could also be a step towards a longer, healthier life!

We look forward to more research unveiling the curious link between education and longevity. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t hurt to dust off those textbooks, dig out that student ID, and leap into an exciting realm of lifelong learning.

See Staying in School Linked to Living Longer And Slower Aging


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aging, etc. is a blog and podcast about etceteras and aging by Briyan Frederick. Published by Independent Publisher’s Network. ipnx.org

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