Good Friends = Good Health

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Good Friends = Good Health

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Not that you needed any more excuses to build that sweet man cave or to schedule a girls night out, but now new research shows that maintaining good friendships is actually good for your health. A recent story in the Washington Post looked at the relationship between having strong friendships and the impact on your health.

It turns out, strong social ties may help stave off memory loss as you age, reduce stress, boost immunity, help you lose weight and keep it off, and buffer against depression, among other health benefits.

There’s also a strong longevity link, says Carl Latkin, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: “If you have supportive relationships, you’re going to live longer.” A 2010 review of nearly 150 studies that was published in PLoS Medicine found that people with strong social ties had a 50 percent better chance of survival, regardless of age, sex, health status and cause of death, than those with weaker ties.

The study followed over 300,000 people for 7½ years. And get this: the connections between not maintaining friendships and health was equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more dangerous than being obese or never exercising.

The article cites previous studies including:

  • A 1993 study of 736 middle-aged Swedish men found that having a strong social network seemed to significantly decrease the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease.

The bottom line is, when we get inundated with the stresses of day-to-day life, remember to make time for your friends- it will only help your health and well being.

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