There are many healthy habits to live regularly that can help encourage a longer life – especially as you age. For example, eating a nutritious diet is so important to feed your body all the essentials it needs to function properly. Getting a healthy dose of exercise every day will help your body stay in great shape while potentially avoiding any chronic health conditions. But there’s something else pretty big that has nothing to do with diet or exercise that can help you live longer, especially after you turn 65. Continue reading to learn more.

Elderly couple embrace outside while enjoying morning coffee

According to data from the U.S. Medicare Health Outcomes Survey, men and women who are anywhere from 65 to 85 years old may have a longer total life expectancy if they are married “till death do them part.” This is fair!

The study was conducted by Medicare and published in the journal SSM – Population Health. An example given in the research? According to the data, 65-year-old married men were found to have an average total life expectancy of 18.6 years, which is 2.2 years longer than men who are single. Female participants studied of the same age (age 65) revealed 21.1 years of total life expectancy, which is 1.5 years more than being unmarried at age 65.

Related: Lifestyle habits that slow aging, from a 100-year-old neurologist

Happy mature couple doing exercise to live longer

More searches match the data. Diary Health Psychology points out that couples who would consider their marriages anywhere from very to fairly happy are about 20% less likely to experience an early death (through time). They are actually more likely to live longer than those couples who would consider their marriage “not very happy.”

Why all the positivity of being connected? Well, there could be many reasons, according to the study, including a healthier heart and waistline. According to Mark Whisman, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of this second study, a good marriage appears to improve your health. Married individuals may be more likely to encourage certain healthy routines, such as exercise, healthy eating, and attending necessary medical checkups. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?

Whisman also points out that supporting each other in a marriage can help individuals psychologically. Being married “provides people with meaningful roles and identities, a purpose in life, a sense of security,” Whisman says, adding, “These kinds of psychological factors can affect health.” A strong marriage can improve “mental health and well-being, which we know is related to physical health.”

Related: What Science Says About Exercise Habits That Slow Aging

lonely old man walking

Another study supporting the benefits of marriage? There is a link between being lonely and a higher level of mortality. A study was conducted in Sweden called the Swedish Lundby Study. Of the 1,363 participants, 296 individuals were considered to be living a lonely life. The research involved interviews over a 13-year period. In the study, loneliness overall was associated with a 27% higher risk of mortality.

Happy elderly couple dancing on the beach

A teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing. The key word here is “happy” when it comes to marriage. It is not suggested that the mere sanctity of marriage will magically solve your problems and help you live longer and better. But if you’re happy with someone at that stage in life, know that having a teammate for life can be a pretty amazing thing – so says the science!

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is Eat This, Not That!’s Deputy Mind + Body Editor, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness and self-care topics to readers. Read more

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