We’ve all heard it before, from televisions shows to endless musical groups like Little Wonders, James Taylor, The Beatles, and Bette Middler to kids’ shows and books, including Thomas and Friends, Sponge Bob Square Friends, and the Mary Engelbreit book – it’s all about friends.
What’s all about friends? Living healthy – whatever your age.
According to a recently published study, a busy social life may actually keep you out of the senior danger zone. Got friends? If your answer is “yes”, according to lead researcher Bryan James, postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology of aging and dementia at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, you are less likely to become disabled. “The findings are exciting because social activity is potentially a risk factor that can be modified to help older adults avoid the burdens of disability,” he added.
The study indicates that with an active social life, you are twice as likely to remain free of disabilities likely to hinder daily activities, lik feeding, bathing, dressing, using the toilet and 1.5 times more likely to remain free of disabilities that affected mobility or instrumental activities of daily living like using the telephone, preparing meals and managing medications.
Further, the study shows that social activities that keep you active, may include:
- Going out to eat
- Playing bingo
- Doing volunteer work
- Taking day or overnight trips
- Participating in community groups
- (And while not on the list, here’s one more from me: get out there and plan activities and play with your grandchildren! They can be your best friend and learning from each other is invaluable by all measures!)
While it’s not clear how social activity helps prevent disability, it may reinforce the neural networks and musculoskeletal function required to maintain physical function.
So call a friend or a grandchild, plan an activity, and get out there and enjoy life.
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