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An elderly shopper enjoys a small glass of complementary red wine, as she shops in the drinks aisle of an Asda supermarket in Britain, in this file photo. Photo: Gideon Mendel / Corbis

What’s the secret to living past 90? Booze beats exercise – and being a bit fat doesn’t hurt either

Elderly drinkers enjoyed an 18 per cent reduced risk of death, while daily exercisers only cut their risk by 11 per cent


Cheers to life – seriously.

When it comes to making it into your 90s, booze actually beats exercise, according to a long-term study.

The research, led by University of California neurologist Claudia Kawas, tracked 1,700 nonagenarians enrolled in the 90+ Study that began in 2003 to explore impacts of daily habits on longevity.

Researchers discovered that subjects who drank about two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18 per cent less likely to experience a premature death, the Independent reports.
Elderly Russian women sell cheap vodka on a street in central Moscow in this file photo. Photo: Reuters
I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity
Neurologist Claudia Kawas

Meanwhile, participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day, cut the same risk by 11 per cent.

“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Kawas stated over the weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas.

Other factors were found to boost longevity, including weight. Participants who were slightly overweight – but not obese – cut their odds of an early death by 3 per cent.

“It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” Kawas noted in her address.

Subjects who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 per cent less likely to die early, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day cut that risk by 10 per cent.

Further study is needed to determine how habits impact longevity beyond people’s genetic makeups.