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Kendal at Oberlin Blog

The Importance of Staying Social As You Age

Posted by Molly Kavanaugh on Jan 31, 2015 2:22:27 PM

InterGen-dp03rWe’ve all heard about the numerous benefits of staying physically active as you age. For example, cardiovascular activity is great for heart health and weight loss, and strength training can help with bone mass, balance control, and even arthritis. With that being said, staying physically active is just aspect of staying healthy as you age. The other is staying socially active.

Remaining active in social settings has many benefits. Here are five reasons why it’s important to do so:

1. It reduces the risk of depression

Depression in older adults is common, so it’s important to find ways to combat those feelings. Fighting feelings such as isolation and loneliness can be done by maintaining an active social life, so make it a point to surround yourself with relationships that are positive and enriching.

2. It keeps your mind sharp

Staying socially active can benefit cognitive function. Simply by having regular conversations with friends or joining an activity group are ways to better mental health. There have been studies that indicate an active social life can also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

3. It improves your overall health

Studies have found that a consistent social life can actually slow the progression of declining health. Participants in that study developed health limitations at a slower rate if they were socially active compared to those who had more isolated lives.

4. It can improve your physical fitness

It’s hard to maintain a social life by just sitting on your couch. When you’re social, most of the time you get up and get out to converse with other people. This gets you moving and helps improve body strength while keeping you more physically capable as you age.

5. It can reduce stress and lower blood pressure

As long as you’re not arguing! Being around other people whose company you enjoy tends to lower stress, which in turn can help lower blood pressure. This decreases your risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems as well. By simply relaxing with your friends you can improve your overall health!

Even if you have never had a very social life in the past, it’s never too late to start reaping some of the above benefits. Check out community activities, join groups that share similar interests, or reach out to an old friend that you’ve lost touch with.

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Topics: Healthy Aging

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