According to the results of a 14 year-long study by researchers at the University College London, engaging in the arts is associated with a lower risk of early death.
Researchers looked at adults in the UK 50 years of age and older.
They found that people who engaged with what they call “receptive arts activities” (i.e. going to live theatre, concerts, opera, museums, art galleries, and exhibitions) once or twice a year had a 14% lower risk of dying compared with those who never engaged in the arts while those who engaged in “receptive arts activities” every few months or more had a 31% lower risk of dying during the followup years in the study.
The researchers say that this was “independent of demographic, socioeconomic, health related, behavioural, and social factors”.
However, they caution that this was an “observational study and therefore causality cannot be assumed”; that is, we cannot assume that going to museums and live plays is the reason that these people are less likely to die.
Nevertheless, engaging in the arts is good thing and it has been found beneficial in other studies as well.
So, get out there and enjoy your local theatre, go to concerts, visit museums and art galleries, and make a point of going to special exhibitions! It’s good for you.