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A No-Exercise Way to Extend Your Life
If you want to live a long life, join a book club or start a poker night. When it comes to longevity, being socially active has the same health benefit as exercise. Australian researchers from the University of Queensland in Brisbane have determined that the more social groups to which a person belongs in early retirement, the lower their risk of death, reports HealthDay News.

Older than 50? This 12-question quiz can tell you your odds of still being alive in a decade.

The study: Led by Niklas Steffens, the team followed 424 retirees over a six-year period, comparing the information they collected on them with similar people who were still working. All participants were at least 50 years old and part of an ongoing study of aging in England. In addition to being asked about the number of social groups to which they belonged, they completed questionnaires about their quality of life and physical health.

The results:

  • When a participant's quality of life was good before retirement, he or she was more likely to have high scores on the quality-of-life questionnaire after retirement.

  • The chance of dying within six years of stopping work was 2 percent for those who belonged to two social groups before retiring and stayed in both after retiring.

  • But the risk of death climbed to 5 percent when they left one of the social groups and spiked to 12 percent if they quit both groups.

"The sense of belonging that social group connections provide helps people sustain a meaningful and healthy life," Steffens told HealthDay News.

The takeaway: Social planning may be as important as financial and medical planning to health and well-being in retirement.

The study findings were published in the journal BMJ Open.

Find out the ideal BMI for the greatest chance at living a long time. It may surprise you!

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