It’s no surprise that parenting has its ups and downs, but a recent study revealed one of its unexpected benefits: being a parent can actually make you live longer.

The Swedish study looked at national registry data and analyzed the life spans of more than 1.4 million elderly women and children. It concluded that the risk of death was significantly lower in people with at least one child.

By age 60, men with kids had an average life expectancy of almost 2 years longer than those of their counterparts without children. Men with children could expect to live 20.2 more years, while those men without children only had 18.4 years. Women’s life expectancy was increased by 1.5 more years. The life expectancy of those with children was 24.6 years, while those without was another 23.1 years.

Researchers also determined that the association between longevity and parenthood grow with age. The study was the first of its kind to examine this association. So, at age 80, men with children could expect to live a further 7.7 years, while those without could expect to live 7 years. For women, those with children could expect to live 9.5 more years, while those without could live 8.9 more years.

This is most likely because as parents age, their children can provide more support in terms of health, housing and emotional support. So hug your kids a little tighter tonight knowing that they’re helping you live a longer and fuller life! 🙂