Evidence linking being social with increases in one’s mental and physical health continues to increase. In fact, a new study found that very social seniors had a 70% reduction in their rate of cognitive decline when compared to their unsocial peers.
The study followed 1,138 individuals with an average age of 79.6 for around 5 years. None of the participants had dementia at the start of the study which eliminated dementia as a cause of social isolation.
The participants ‘level of social activity’ was based on things like visits to relatives and friends; membership in groups; attendance at religious ceremonies; and participation in activities such as bingo, sporting events, or going to restaurants. The responses lead to a numerical score.
The results were drastic. Each one point increase in the score was linked to a 47% drop in the rate of decline in cognitive function and 43% reduced risk in becoming physically disabled. Other studies have found that severe social isolation is as deadly as smoking. It can even double your risk of an early death.
Stress is the link between social levels and health. Lack of social contact is stressful for social beings. Moreover, stress increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and mental illnesses.
Because our brains are designed for socializing, it’s no surprise that not doing so leads to a slew of health problems. So get out and enjoy your friends and family as much as possible.