4. Smoking Cigarettes
You might decide that lung cancer, emphysema and bad breath are worth the clearer mental focus you get from a nicotine high. Cigarette fiends often invoke improved concentration as a justification for their habit. But are these folks just blowing smoke?
Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London say, not at all. They found that smoking significantly improved memory and brain function by making more effective use of glutamine and dopamine. Nicotine reduces the amount of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down dopamine) by 30 to 40 percent. Senior citizens who used nicotine patch made decisions faster, cutting the time from 200 milliseconds to under 100.
In other words, if you have trouble concentrating and don’t care if you live past 40, take up smoking. All the cool kids are doing it.
“So much for thinking about baseball…”
Everyone knows that sex burns calories (35 per half hour for anyone counting) and relieves stress. What you might not know is that intimate moments with your special lady friend boost your immune system.
Sex releases increased amounts of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which prevents colds and other infections. Men who have more sex also have fewer strokes and heart attacks likely related to the exercise gained from sex. A Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study found that sex twice or more per week cuts the risk of heart attack in half. Coitus also reduces pain by releasing oxytocin— remember that next time she has a headache. Since Movember is coming, we should also tell you that regular orgasms are a key component of prostate health.
Note that the key to prostate health is orgasm, not actual sex. So don’t let a, um, lack of partner prevent you from getting those benefits.
This one is apparently only true of old people, but hey, you’ll get there one day. Senior citizens who gamble are apparently experience better health than those who don’t. Gambling old people report lower rates of depression and alcoholism.
While some scientists suspect that the socializing involved is the key, others disagree: how much contact with other humans goes on at a slot machine? Still there are other, more social games to play at a casino, including blackjack, poker and craps.
As with booze, it’s important to practice moderation, especially when you’re on Social Security. Men reading this have nothing to fear, however. Social Security will be long gone by the time you’re old enough to collect.