Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Does spiritual wellness really matter?

"Every aspect of health is related to devout religious involvement," says Harold Koenig, director of Duke University's Center for Spirituality." So it's no wonder folks live longer in central Florida at The Villages, America's fastest-growing retirement community. In 2012, a survey of 33,000 Villagers found  81% consider themselves spiritual. Coincidentally, the lifespan in Sumter County, FL, is two years longer than the national average.

The Villages Cheerleading Team

Attending weekly religious services can add seven years to your life, according to a 2014 University of Texas survey of 22,000 Americans. More than 100 other studies suggest regular prayer in connection with a faith community can lower blood pressure, enhance recovery from illness, and improve sleep. A 2013 Columbia University study found spiritual practices can thicken the brain cortex to defend against depression. And church attendance also offers secondary benefits. Church goers are 29% less likely to smoke and 45% less likely to use alcohol, the third leading cause of preventable death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Koenig says seniors should focus on spiritual wellness. "At this time in life, there is no other factor that has the potential to provide meaning, peace, hope and health, beside religion," he said. See you in church next Sunday?

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