Consider the following group of candidates who are still rocking out at an age when many people have been retired for years: Mick Jagger (69), Keith Richards (68), Rod Stewart (67), Iggy Pop (65) and Bob Dylan (71).
While certain elements of their lifestyles leave a lot to be desired (taking illegal drugs or any drug in large amounts is hazardous), there are others that may well contain the secret to approximating eternal youth. Let’s break it down…
According to research published in the journal Biological Psychology, getting it on is a proven stress buster. In a Scottish study of 24 women and 22 men, those who had recently had intercourse displayed noticeably lower blood pressure levels when subjected to stressfulsituations such as public speaking and doing verbal arithmetic.
Doing the horizontal mambo can also make you more resistant to disease. Scientists from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found the more sex a person has, the higher their levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which has been shown to have real benefits when it comes to combating colds and flu.
Then there are the cardio benefits to consider. The Journal Of Epidemiology And Community Health published a 20-year study of 914 men which found those who had sex two or more times a week reduced their risk of a fatal heart attack by 50 per cent.
Finally, those who have sex regularly appear to be more youthful and energetic. In fact, in a study conducted at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland, people who had sex four times a week with a steady partner were perceived to be seven to 12 years younger than their actual age.
Few followers of the rock’n’roll lifestyle (be they the real-deal or wannabes) don’t know of the hangovercuring properties of aspirin. Low daily doses of aspirin (less than 80 grams) have recently been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-blood-clotting benefits for heart attack or stroke sufferers.
While the medical community is divided over whether aspirin has preventive powers which outweigh its risks, patients with established conditions such as bowel cancer have been shown to benefit from it.
What’s more, findings published in the journal Cancer in May suggest that people taking aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers may be 15 and 13 per cent less likely to contract squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanomas respectively. Like any drug, however, aspirin isn’t without its side effects, so consult your doctor before using it.
If a more natural alternative is more your tune, buy some matcha. This whole-leaf green tea that has been ground into a fine powder abounds with an antioxidant called epigallocatechin (EGCG – which sounds totally rock’n’roll).
Thankfully, it is easier to drink than to say and EGCG echoes the effects of aspirin by making blood platelets and cholesterol less sticky. Consume it with just a splash of water (as with fine scotch) or direct from a shot glass (like tequila).
Anyone who has ever set foot inside a day spa can attest to the stress-relieving powers of music. However, it’s not just your Vivaldis and Enyas that can boost health.
A doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found the correlation between music and positive emotions was not so much predicated on the genre but the preferences of the listener. In other words, Metallica can be just as healing as Mozart, but only so long as the former happens to be your thing.
Then, there’s the question of volume. There may be something to be said for the “crank-it-up” model of musical appreciation. While no-one is suggesting you don earphones and damage your drums, researchers at the University of Manchester have found sounds above the 90-decibel range may have surprising health benefi ts. They stimulate the sacculus, a part of the inner ear whose function has been lost through evolution. While the sacculus doesn’t do anything as such, it is still connected to the part of the brain linked to hunger, sex and pleasure responses. Simply put: stimulate it and you feel good. Considering a telephone dial tone is 80 decibels, we’re not exactly rattling the windows. Limit it to five or six songs at a sitting and you’ll minimise any risks while reaping maximum benefits.
Music’s benefits are further enhanced if you create it. A study of 70 people aged 60 to 83 by University of Kansas Medical Center found the more musical training they had had earlier in life, the better they performed in brain-functioning tests. So best you start rocking out.