Love someone, live longer

Put it this way: those who have a love life are likely to live longer than those who don’t.

That’s the conclusion Australian academic Prof Marc Cohen came to after reading through the literature on the link between love and longevity.

“Having love in your life will improve your chances of living a long life,” Cohen, of Melbourne’s RMIT University, told a recent international conference on ageing.

Cohen’s understanding of “love” is very broad. It encompasses more than romantic love, and can be stretched to include hobbies and other enthusiasms.

“So if you’re doing an activity that you love to do, whether it’s making paper aeroplanes or gardening or looking into the eyes of your lover, you get moments when time seems to stop, or it seems like five minutes but it’s really been an hour,” he said.

“All activities where you’re totally focused on an act and lose track of time are loving activities.”

Singles with a passion for something are as likely to keep on going as couples in a loving relationship, his argument goes.

Cohen told the Brisbane gathering of research in the United States that found rabbits cuddled by laboratory assistants lived 60% longer than those that weren’t.
He also quoted a study of male heart patients in Israel, which found that the half with the better health outcomes was also the half with the good marriages.

In fact, Cohen suggested that one of the reasons women generally live longer than men is that, generally, they do more loving. They have lovers to love, children to love, parents to love.

“Women are the major carers on the planet,” Cohen said. “It makes sense that women would live longer because they have more love in their life.”—Sapa-DPA

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