If you have children, you may have increased your life span despite all the stress and sleepless nights that often go hand-in-hand with parenthood.
How much extra you live depends if you’re a Mom or a Dad. A Swedish team analyzed national registry data of over 700,000 each of men and women. At 60 years of age, men with children lived roughly 2 years longer when compared to men who didn’t have children. And women who had children lived roughly 1.5 years longer than women who were childless.
The researchers found you only needed one child to lower your risk of death and it didn’t matter if the child was a boy or a girl. The reason why you live longer is unclear, but it’s likely that parents benefit from their children’s support later in life. Having kids is not the only way to extend your life span, so here are my prescriptions:
1. Build your own family or tribe as I like to call it. Join groups or volunteer - the social interactions can help you live longer.
2. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise and avoid tobacco. Doing so will lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.
3. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. You will not only lower your risk of cancer and stroke, but also the risk for unintentional injuries.
4. If you don’t have loved ones that can help, reach out to programs that provide support like delivering groceries or driving you to doctor appointments.
We're social animals and not only benefit from each other’s company, we thrive on it. Your tribe can be a mix of family, colleagues, neighbors and friends. It’s the people you meet and bond with through the course of your life. Tribe is especially important at the beginning and end of life as it provides support, encouragement, and engagement.