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Over 65? This One Thing Can Help You Live Longer—Science Says So

If you're looking to live longer, this could be one of your keys to longevity.

There are many healthy habits to live by on the regular that can help to encourage a longer life—especially as you age. For instance, maintaining a nutritious diet is so important to feed your body with all of the essentials it requires to run properly. Getting in a healthy dose of exercise each day will help your body remain in great shape while potentially dodging any chronic health conditions. But there's another something pretty big that has nothing to do with diet or exercise that can help you live longer, especially once you reach 65 years of age. Keep reading to learn more.

Some individuals live longer when they're hitched, according to science.

elderly couple cuddles up outside while enjoying morning coffee

According to data via the U.S. Medicare Health Outcome Survey, men and women who are anywhere from 65 to 85 years old can have a longer total life expectancy if they are married "till death do them part." That's right!

The study was performed by Medicare and published in the journal SSM – Population Health. An example provided in the research? According to the data, 65-year-old married men were found to have an average total life expectancy of 18.6 years, which is 2.2 years more than men who are single. Female participants studied of the same age (65 years old) revealed 21.1 years as a total life expectancy, which is 1.5 years longer than being unmarried at 65 years of age.

Related: The Lifestyle Habits That Slow Down Aging, From a 100-Year-old Neurologist

Married individuals may be more likely to encourage some wholesome routines.

happy mature couple exercising to live longer

More research concurs with the data. The journal Health Psychology states that couples who would consider their marriage somewhere between very to pretty happy have around a 20% decreased chance of experiencing an early death (via TIME). They are actually more likely to live longer than those couples who would consider their marriage "not too happy."

Why all of the positivity of being hitched? Well, it could be many reasons, according to the study, including a healthier heart and waistline. According to Mark Whisman, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of this second study, a good marriage seemingly betters your health. Married individuals may be more likely to encourage some wholesome routines, like exercising, eating healthy, and keeping up with the necessary medical checkups. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?

Whisman also points out that being supportive of each other in a marriage can help individuals psychologically. Being married "provides people with meaningful roles and identity, a purpose in life, a sense of security," Whisman says, adding, "Those kind of psychological factors might influence health." A marriage that is strong can better "mental health and well-being, which we know is associated with physical health."

Related: What Science Says About the Exercise Habits That Slow Aging

There is a connection between being lonely and a higher rate of mortality.

older man lonely walking

Another bit of research that backs up the benefits of marriage? There's a connection between being lonely and a higher rate of mortality. A study was performed in Sweden called the Swedish Lundby Study. Of 1363 participants, 296 individuals were considered to live a lonely life. The research involved interviews over a 13-year period. In the study, loneliness was overall connected with a 27% higher risk of mortality.

A teammate for life who makes you happy can be a pretty incredible thing.

happy senior couple dances on the beach

A teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing. The key word here is "happy" when it comes to marriage. It is not suggested that the mere sanctity of marriage will magically solve your problems and help you live longer and better. But if you are happy with someone at that stage of life, know that having a teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing—science says so!

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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