Does Where You Live Affect How Long You Live?

Back in June this year, Science Daily published an article on a Washington State University study. Conducted by the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, it revealed a compelling argument that would shake up the preconception that healthy genes are a direct driver of reaching age 100: where you live might just have as strong of an effect.

Today, let’s explore these findings in more detail.

A Long Life is a Cultured One

The study, which analyzed the lifestyles and areas of residence of many Washingtonians, identified a key pattern: those who live in ethnically diverse communities that are walkable may potentially live longer – possibly even to 100. This probability is higher in areas with improved socioeconomics. In that sense, it could be argued that a long, healthy life is one that is exposed to a culture with a sense of community. 

How is this Possible?

While genetics do play a role in roughly determining how many years you have left, it’s important to consider the benefits of living in such a community. First, they’re often exposed to fewer airborne pollutants, which can be attributed to eco-friendly trends among other factors. Second, lifestyle is critical; if we stay active, socialize and develop a positive mindset, it’s possible to minimize stress – and the risk of select health complications. There are other factors to consider as well, such as easy access to local parks and amenities, healthier local dining options, and the availability of healthcare services. 

Steps You Can Take Today

Let’s say that you can’t justify moving at the moment, whether due to the pandemic risk, financial reasons, a combination of both or otherwise. There are alternative ways to improve your everyday lifestyle in the meantime; setting a daily workout routine (and sticking to it), experimenting with a healthier diet, minimizing stress through meditation and practicing social skills, and more round out the steps you can take without having to pack a single box. 

All in all, we shouldn’t dispute the fact that genetics may decide our longevity for us. However, depending on the circumstances, finding a happy, healthy and vibrant community to call home can help you skirt some of the issues that may otherwise crop up. It’s also a great way to work on yourself and feel better about every day – which we could all use nowadays!

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