Baby Boomers and Beer? How Nightlife May Lead to Longer Lives

We’re well into the season many Americans are adopting as an excuse to go have a drink. Oktoberfest 2017 runs from September 16th until October 3rd. The tradition began in Germany in 1810 after citizens were invited to join the festivities of a royal wedding. Now, it’s the highest attended festival in the world with upwards of 6 million people attending the over 2 week long celebration every year. While some people in America are adopting the tradition as we do for many cultural traditions around the world, some worry that the excessive drinking inherent in Oktoberfest can be detrimental to health. To those people we say, fear not! This week, we’ll take a look at how studies are showing that moderate drinking can actually help prolong life!

elderly and beer

Late in Life Alcohol Consumption can be Beneficial

According to a study conducted in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, scientists examined the correlations between non-drinkers, moderate drinkers (1-3 drinks on average per day), and excessive drinkers (more than 3 drinks on average per day). They ended the 20 year study when participants were between the ages of 55 and 65. They concluded that non-drinkers actually had a mortality risk around 2 times higher than moderate drinkers. Excessive drinkers had about a 70% increased mortality risk. Lowest of all, the moderate drinkers had a 23% increased mortality risk. That means, on average, the moderate drinkers had the lowest mortality risk of the three groups across the board.

Drinking at Home is Only Half the Battle

So we’ve discovered that having a couple beers may be the start of a healthier, longer life. But that can’t be it. Truthfully, there is another aspect that, when paired with moderate alcohol consumption, can be beneficial as well. Billiards! A study by the University of Copenhagen has found that elderly people who played billiards enhanced the quality of life by maintaining activity levels without overexerting participants. It also typically meant that a sense of community was built. The pool playing gentlemen the study observed met friends multiple times per week, giving them a chance to socialize with friends to help positively impact their lives. According to Aske Juul Lassen, the study’s conductor, billiards also had the ability to take people’s minds off of illnesses and ailments, focusing instead of having positive interactions with friends.

elderly and beer

Conclusions

Obviously drinking is never something which should be done in excess and for those with certain illnesses it should be actively avoided. However, this study may be an indication that giving up things we enjoy as we age is not necessarily something that is required. Having a couple beers at the local bar over a game of pool may be just the ticket to living a long, active, healthy life!