CULTURE MAKES A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE - The health benefits of physical exercise are well documented, but what about other leisure time pursuits? Researchers interested in this question have discovered that doing such things as viewing an art exhibit, watching a play, or reading a poem can be highly beneficial for health and life satisfaction.
Norwegian scientist gathered information from more than 50,000 adults adn analyzed their creative activities, such as exercising or playing a musical instrument - and their "receptive" activities - such as watching a concert or sporting event. They also measured participants' overall health and satisfaction with their lives.
Culture made a big difference: 84% of those who participated in at least four activities - whether as creators or consumers - described themselves as being in good or very good health. More than 90% reported they were deeply satisfied with their lives.
Women tended to benefit more from active engagement in cultural activities. For example, instead of just listening to a concert, they fared better if they sang in a choir. Men showed improved health with any receptive cultural activity. In general, the study found that increased involvement in cultural pursuits led to better health, more satisfaction, and lower levels of anxiety and depression.
For information on the arts and cultural events happening at The Kentucky Center and Brown Theatre, view our calendar of events.
Photo: Vanderbilt Community Chorus
Article: Taste For Life (August 2011)