Image © Art Gallery of Ontario
What would you do with an extra 24 hours? With Leap Day around the corner, we've been thinking about how we might spend that time. Perhaps you would visit a museum, catch a concert or see something at the theatre. Not only is it an extra day to take in the arts, but new research also suggests it's actually an investment in your longevity.
Art has long been known to be associated with wellness. In fact, doctors are prescribing museum visits to help combat social isolation, loneliness, depression and anxiety. But what long-term effects does art have? According to a study conducted by University College London, arts engagement can help you live longer. The study explored the link between different frequencies of arts engagement and mortality in adults in England aged 50 years and older and the findings were favourable.
Researchers focused on arts engagement, including going to the theatre, concerts, opera, museums, art galleries and exhibitions, and compared the data over a 14-year period. The results indicated that those who participated in arts-related activities were less likely to have died over the course of the study. Researchers determined that those who engaged in the arts just once or twice a year had a 14 percent lower risk of dying early than those who did not engage, while participants who engaged with the arts at least once every few months had a 31 percent lower risk.
The study did take socioeconomic factors into account, admitting that longevity may be linked to the higher socioeconomic status of the demographic that usually goes to museums, exhibitions and art galleries, but with new pricing models (like the AGO Annual Pass) being introduced at museums around the world, it’s becoming more affordable to engage with arts and culture.
Getting an AGO Annual Pass is a great investment in your health: you get unlimited admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions for an entire year. That’s 365 days of art for only $35 (or free for visitors 25 and under).