Imagine a world without art – no music, no paintings, no poetry and no movies. Sounds like a colorless, soundless, dull, gray pit of nothing, doesn't it?
A recent study in the U.K. revealed that not only do artistic and cultural activities make life more enjoyable, but also prolong our lives – so dance, paint and sing as your heart desires.
The study, published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Dec. 18, found that paying regular visits to museums, art galleries, theaters and concerts reduced the risk of early death by 31%, adding to existing evidence that the arts can benefit one's health.
Researchers from University College London came to the conclusion by monitoring a sample of 6,710 people over the age of 50 for the last 12 years. They found that people who participated in such leisurely activities once or twice a year enjoyed a 14% lower risk of premature death than those who have never engaged in art.
However, the study also pointed out that more than 40% of those with lower incomes, as well as 405 patients suffering from lung disease, loneliness or depression, had either never engaged in cultural activities or simply had no access.
The authors of the study acknowledged that the arts could greatly improve mental health and encourage physical activity, hence the government needed to make such activities accessible to all.