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Drink beer, play billiards, live longer

Drinking beer over a game of billiards can help keep men over the age of 70 active and help them live longer, according to one Danish researcher.


Playing billiards over a pint of beer could help men over the age of 70 stay active and live longer, according to Aske Juul Lassen from the University of Copenhagen’s Center for Healthy Aging, providing the perfect excuse for a pensioner to to visit the pub.

The claims form part of the PhD student’s thesis entitled Active Ageing and the Unmaking of Old Age for which he studied 10 to 15 men between the ages of 70 and 95 who met to play billiards four times a week, which Lassen said “often comes with a certain life style – drinking beer and drams for instance.”

“I am quite sure this was not what WHO and EU meant when they formulated their active ageing policies. But billiards does constitute active ageing. Billiards is, first of all, an activity that these men thoroughly enjoy and that enhances their quality of life while immersing them in their local community and keeping them socially active. And billiards is, secondly, very suitable exercise for old people because the game varies naturally between periods of activity and passivity and this means that the men can keep playing for hours,” he said.

The researcher went on to suggest that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and EU perception of ageing and recommendations on a healthy lifestyle should be reconsidered to allow for, among other things, drinking beer and playing billiards.

“The elderly do a lot of things, which I consider active ageing and which give them an enhanced quality of life, but they are also activities that would never be characterized as “healthy” by health authorities. The question is how we define “good ageing” and how we organise society for our ageing generations,” he said adding: “We need a broader, more inclusive concept of healthy and active ageing that allows for the communities the elderly already take part in and that positively impact their everyday lives, quality of life, and general health. It must also allow for the fact that the elderly do not constitute a homogenous group of people: activities that for some seem insurmountable will be completely natural for others.”

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