One of the disadvantages of living at higher altitudes is that there's less oxygen in the air, which can suck for those with respiratory problems. One of the advantages of those places, however, is that ... there's less oxygen in the air. A lack of oxygen makes people's bodies more efficient, which makes them live longer.
Try it at home!
In a four-year study, researchers from several institutions analyzed death certificates from every county in the U.S. and realized that most of the top 20 counties with the highest life expectancy happened to be in Utah and Colorado, two of the three highest states in the nation. Compared to those living near sea level, the people in those counties live up to 3.6 years longer for men and up to 2.5 years longer for women.
Which means more time to enjoy all of Utah's wonders. Like truck stops without coffee and super-light beer.
Apparently, it's all about not being gluttons when it comes to using oxygen. Dr. Benjamin Honigman at the University of Colorado School of Medicine theorized that the lower levels of oxygen force the body to become more efficient at distributing that oxygen, activating certain genes that enhance heart function and create new blood vessels for bringing blood to and from the heart, greatly lowering the chances of heart disease. The alternate theory that these people evolved stronger hearts to withstand yeti encounters in the mountains remains unproven.
Honigman also believes that living at a higher altitude might help prevent some types of cancer -- in fact, Colorado has a lower rate of colon and lung cancer than most other states. The only downside, of course, is that you still live in Colorado.
We'll take our chances.
Believe it or not, there's a town in California called Loma Linda where a significant chunk of the population lives five to 10 years longer than everyone else. The catch: They are all Seventh-Day Adventists. So it's probably like Woody Allen said: "You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred."
"More specifically, hard drugs and bear wrestling."
After all, Adventists tend to not drink or smoke and generally live healthier lifestyles, so that probably explains it, right? Nope: Even Loma Linda Adventists who half-ass it and partake in all the things that should kill them still get extra longevity, and science isn't sure why.
It happens with people of other religions, too: A study in Colorado found that people who go to church regularly live around seven years longer than those who don't. Considering what we just told you about living in Colorado, if the people in that study also have giant butts, they're practically immortal.
The only reason they all aren't sword fighting for each other's Quickening is that the church is on hallowed ground.
Apparently, the increase in life expectancy for older people who go to church is "comparable to that of people who don't smoke over those who do." That's right -- skipping church is as bad for your health as smoking.
This difference may be explained by the fact that people who are spiritual tend to have lower levels of anxiety and therefore suffer from fewer problems like high blood pressure and strokes. Or maybe it all comes down to what we told you before about kids: It's important for people to remain socially active within their age group in order to be healthy, and going to church gives them the perfect excuse to do that. All of your friends will also be more likely to tell you to get checked out when they notice that huge tumor growing on the side of your head.
"Jim looks bad, you guys. We should probably either call 911 or draw dicks on his face."
For a lot of people reading this right now, the only point of having a job is saving up enough money so that eventually you'll be able to afford not having a job. Maybe you picture yourself retiring in your 50s or earlier and spending the rest of your days chilling on your couch, not worrying about a thing. Unfortunately, doing that can kill you. Apparently, as soon as people decide to stop being useful, so do their bodies.
This means all the cops who got shot a day before retirement didn't miss much.
Studies show that people who retire later in life have better life expectancies than those who retire early. Even discounting the people who retired because of health problems and died soon after, the results still held up. While lounging around and doing nothing probably ensures you won't die from stress-related health problems, there is such a thing as too much rest and relaxation -- without goals or bosses to torment you, your body and mind lull into a stupor and slowly shut themselves down.
"Liver ... off. Ability to give a fuck ... off."
On the other hand, people who stay active and involved in their jobs remain healthier and live longer. In fact, going back to the 90-year-long study we mentioned before, hard workers, even those who worry too much and are prone to stress, usually have longer lifespans than happy-go-lucky types. Even if they didn't end up at their dream job or only kept working later in life out of necessity, they still did better than laid-back people who never took their jobs seriously.
Of course, researchers point out that you don't have to keep going to an office every day to remain active. Other things can keep you focused and working, but given human laziness, very few people will put any real effort into it without a paycheck and a supervisor hovering over their heads.
She'll be riding those stress headaches into the 22nd century.
For more things you can't control, check out 5 Insignificant Things That Determine Who You Have Sex With. Or learn about 5 Reasons Being Single Sucks Even More Than You Thought.
And stop by LinkSTORM because it totally makes you live longer. Trust us.
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