Fall is here. And while you’re probably ready for brisk air and changing leaves, the autumn season is the gateway to the dreary, shorter winter days – making it harder for those living in some areas to get out and about.
Thankfully, a new study shows a “virtual” trick that can help you stay active and social this fall and winter, without setting foot outside your front door.
Even better? Researchers say it can lower your risk of strokes, heart disease, cognitive decline, and even early death, especially if you’re a senior.
I’m talking about taking a trip to the museum… on your computer. That’s right, according to new research, better health is only a click away.
For the study, researchers from the University of Montreal partnered with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) to recruit 106 seniors in the Montreal area.
Next, they split the group in half. One group had 45-minute weekly virtual museum visits for three months. These visits included a 15-minute question and answer session with museum staff.
The other group did not have any virtual museum visits during the study period. At the end, the virtual visits group experienced significant improvements in their:
- Social isolation
- Quality of life
- Frailty assessment score1
Overcome Isolation and Improve Your Health
Previous studies show that isolated seniors are at an increased risk for a range of health complications, including stroke and heart disease, as well as mental decline and even premature death.2
“Our study showed that art-based activity may be an effective intervention,” says lead author Dr. Olivier Beauchet, a professor at McGill University. “On a global scale, this participatory art-based activity could become a model that could be offered in museums and art institutions worldwide to promote active and healthy aging.”
But this isn’t the first time museums have positively impacted senior health…
In 2018, the MMFA put on a program called “Thursdays at the Museum.” They found that art-based activities can improve older people’s well-being, quality of life, and overall health.
Start Your Virtual Visits Today!
I don’t know about you, but with results like those, I’m certainly going to be making some virtual museum visits in the coming cooler days.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is a great place to start. They offer virtual tours of all of their current and past exhibits. Click here to get started.
And, if you want to learn more about health, take a virtual tour of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. They have exhibits on the Spanish Flu and battlefield medicine. Click here to discover more.
If neither option suits your fancy, try looking at your favorite museum’s home page. Many institutions around the country and the world offer virtual lectures and Q and A sessions in addition to virtual exhibits.