Faith, Religion and Health
"I don't need nobody or no one!" Well, there are some studies out there
that would beg to differ. Guys are famous for trying to be a Rock, an
Island - tough and independent. That's what makes us who we are. But
science is discovering that it is easy to go to an extreme on this and we will
touch upon the evidence below for one aspect of this.
One interesting example is the
intersection of health and religion, fitness and faith. I'm not talking
about supernatural healings or anything of the sort - I am talking about
Some researchers have asked the question, "Is there anything about a religious or
faith-oriented life that leads to improved health?" To the suprise of
many, the answer seems to be an emphatic "yes" on many fronts.
Most guys are
completely unaware of the prominent role the soft and often subjective aspects
of life play in health and fitness. I have, for example, covered in
another thread how critical is your
Mind and Mental Attitude to your
testosterone levels. Another example is the
that I frequently mention that can single-handedly reverse heart disease and
turn off hundreds of prostate cancer genes. Dr. Ornish's program insists that its adherents
practice some kind of relaxation techique and engage in social meetings as well.
Do you know the foods and drinks that increase erection-boosting
Nitric Oxide? Check out the
Peak Erectile Strength Diet where I show
you how to dramatically and naturally improve your erectile strength.
Why did Dr. Ornish incorporate these kind of things? Because the evidence
shows that these things are good for the heart. Part of it is stress
One study found that "emotional support ehlps older people cope more effectively
with stress by restoring their sense of meaning in life". 
Religion and faith, as it turns out, are no different. They, too, seem to
have a place in a life of health and fitness. Here are just a few examples:
elderly North Carolina residents found a significant reduction in mortality
among those who practiced their religious faith.  Mortality studies are
considered the gold standard by many researchers and it is interesting that
religious involvement was as effective as nutritional and exercise outcomes.
Also, this study showed that even private religious involvement reduced
mortality and not just activity in organized religion such as other studies have
Meditation, a meditation technique where passages from the Bible or other sacred
works are silently repeated, leads to decreased stress levels. 
Other Meditative Techniques have also been shown to lower stress significantly.
Stress is one of your #1 enemies: it can destroy your
Brain, your testosterone and your heart.
And so stress reduction undoubtedly explains much of the benefit of religion.
But the results seem to go far beyond simple stress reduction. For example, Robert Hummer, a
noted social demographer, has found that those "who never attend religious
services have twice the risk of dying over the next eight years as people who
attend once per week".  Furthermore, University of Pittsburg surgeon
and researcher Daniel Hall found that church attendance added an average of 3
years of life, which was comparable to exercise (3-5 years). Several studies
have verified that weekly church attendance reduced the risk of
Yet another study found that those who practiced such things as "prayer,
meditation or Bible Study" had a higher chance for survival than those who did
not, even accounting for other known variables.  And Neal Krasuse,
probably the premier researcher in the field, found that people who believe
their life has meaning live longer than those who do not.
Church attendance was also found to significantly protect seniors against mood decline
and depression, i.e. a "depressed mood".
The study found the same result for marriage, a staple of religious life for
many. All of this verified a previous very large metanalysis of 147 other
studies that found that "religiousness" was correlated with less depression. 
Many guys dislike
the spiritual and religious as vague and subjective, but some hard numbers are
coming out showing its numerical health advantages. For the sake of our health,
we may be too easily dismissing this other side of life. And, yes - maybe,
just maybe - body, mind and soul are much more inexplicably linked than we
understand or realize.
1) Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences, 2004, 59:5287-5297
2) J of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Aug 2006, 74(4):714-719
3) J of Amer College Health, 2008, 56(5):569-578
4) Newsweek, Feb 23 2009
5) The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Med Sciences,
2000, 55:M400-M405, "Does Private Religious Activity Prolong Survival? A
Six-Year Follow-up Study of 3,851 Older Adults"
6) Psychological Bulletin, Jul 2003, 129(4):614-636, "Religiousness and
depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful
7) The Journals of Gerontology, Series B, (60):S102-S109, "Religious Attendance
and Mortality: An 8-Year Follow-Up of Older Mexican Americans"
8) Journal of Gerontology, 2000, 55(7):M400-M405, "Does Private Religious
Activity Prolong Survival? A Six-Year Follow-up Study of 3,851 Older Adults"
9) Journal of Aging and Health, 2009, 21(6):803-823, "The Effects of Church
Attendance and Marital Status on the Longitudinal Trajectories of Depressed Mood
Among Older Adults"