ITC loves a book club. In fact, we would go so far as to say we are obsessed with book clubs. Dissecting what happens at a book club, gives you nearly enough material to write a book about book clubs.
Well guess what; joining a book club can increase your life expectancy. In fact joining any social group has positive benefits to your health.
Now we know some book clubs in Lane Cove that have been going for years and years. We also know some book clubs that implode after six months. However don’t let that put you off, just find another set of like-minded people and start another book club. If you are new to Lane Cove or you are a bit shy, whey not join the monthly book club organised by the Burns Bay Bookery?
So how does joining a book club or other social club extend your life expectancy?
University of Queensland School of Psychology researchers Dr Niklas Steffens and Dr Tegan Cruwys studied the health of 424 people four years before and six years after they retired, to find out whether belonging to social groups reduced mortality.
The UQ study found that for retirees who belonged to two social groups before retirement, their chance of death was two per cent if they maintained the same number of groups for six years afterwards. However for those who lost membership of one group, the risk of death rose to five per cent, while those who lost membership of both groups had a 12 per cent chance of dying in the six years that followed.
In fact, the study found that belonging to a social group had nearly the same impact as maintaining fitness after retirement. Of course, many people find that their social group and their fitness group are one in the same. Just talk to the ladies who have being doing Aqua Aerobics in Lane Cove for 20 years or the ladies that do Zumba classes every week. If you are interesting in these classes, check out our blog on the A to Z of Fitness in Lane Cove.
If you would like to read the UQ study in full you can find it here.
ITC wonders if the researchers took into account some well known facts about book clubs. Book clubs, food and drink (of the alcoholic type) tend to go hand in hand. What impact does this have on your health?
Of course being obsessed by book clubs and after talking to many many book club members, ITC has drawn up a list of possible book club members. Some of these members could be quite irritating – so what impact would an irritating book club member have on your life expectancy? (this said with tongue firmly planted in cheek)
The Intellectual only wants to discuss books that have been listed for a literary award or are the classics. They are offended if you want to discuss a book on the top selling list or a comedy. They only want to read about angst and war-torn countries. They see War and Peace as a light read. They are in fact a book snob.
The Chick Lit Specialist
They only want to read light novels. They take great pride in saying they have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (and they had a definite opinion on who should play Christian Grey in the movie adaptation).
I Just Want To Get Out of the House Book Club Member
This person does not care what they read; they just want a night out where they can relax eat good cheese and sip a nice wine. They prefer books that have been adapted into movies.
The Don’t Like It Book Club Member
This person will never like a book unless they chose it. They will have strong opinions on everything and want their opinions known.
They leave reading the book to the last minute. They have to skip through parts of the book and really can’t join in the conversation (except maybe to say that either liked or did not like the book).
They dominate the conversation and every time the conversation strays from the book they try and bring the discussion back to the book. They have prepared answers to the questions they found on the internet and they may not be as intellectual as “the intellectual” but they are going to give it a good try. (this could have been ITC – I do love rules)
The Off Topic Gal
She is always talking about something else. She has side conversations and then asks people to repeat themselves as she did not hear the conversation as she was talking.
After being a member of a book club, ITC put together the Book Club Agenda Tea Towel
Now these characters may put you off joining a book club, but a book club is great fun and we really do think the researchers have come to the correct conclusion. Being a member of a book club makes you read a new book every six weeks, you meet new people, you eat good food, you get a chance to talk about your partner and kids without fear or favour – because the number one rule of book club is …. what happens in book club stays in book club.
By the way, you can also extend your life expectancy by being neighbourly – read our blog on neighbours and street parties here.