By Matt Fuchs, July 12, 2021 | Updated yesterday at 2:29 p.m. EDT
If you’re interested in staying healthy as you age — and living longer — you might want to add a different set of muscles to your workout routine: your creative ones.
Ongoing research suggests that creativity may be key to healthy aging.
Studies show that participating in activities such as singing, theater performance and visual artistry could support the well-being of older adults, and that creativity, which is related to the personality trait of openness, can lead to greater longevity. When researchers talk about creativity, they aren’t limiting it to the arts.
Author and Georgetown University psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal defines being creative as “having the ability to make unexpected connections, either to see commonplace things in new ways — or unusual things that escape the attention of others — and realize their importance.”
When it comes to aging, the goal isn’t necessarily just to live longer, but to extend your years of healthy life.
“The scientific term is ‘healthspan,’ which represents the time period of life in which a person is free of debilitating disease,” Stephen Anton, PhD, of the Institute on Aging in the Department of Aging & Geriatric Research at University of Florida Health, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
This is a mix of health, happiness and good quality of life.