It is Never Too Late to Start

by DavalosMcCormack on June 5, 2008

Sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact. Take friendships for instance. You don’t really think about them as being important for your health, yet a new study shows that hanging out with family and friends can not only boost your physical health, it can have a big impact on your mental health.

The study, in the July issue of The American Journal of Public Health, said that socializing with friends and family can improve cognition and might even help prevent dementia. The researchers followed more than 2,200 women enrolled in an HMO, asking them questions about their social network, such as how many family and friends they had, how often they saw them etc.

They chose women because they tend to live longer than men and they often experience increasing social isolation as they get older. But the best bit about this study was that it found that women with the highest social network scores were the least likely to develop dementia. So it seems that the more friends and family you have around you, and see regularly, the better you are.

It makes sense when you think about it. When you hang out with friends and family you chat, you reminisce, you talk about everything that is going on today. In short, you exercise your brain. Now, the brain is basically a muscle so the more you exercise it the healthier it is. And another study in the American Journal of Public Health reinforces that that is also true for other muscles.

The researchers found that healthy seniors who are physically active and exercise for more than 60 minutes each week can reduce their risk of health problems and disability as they get even older. The two key words here are “each week”. Just 60 minutes exercise a week. Cool.

After 13 years of follow-up the seniors who were most active were significantly less likely to suffer disability than other less -active seniors

Now, here’s the payoff. If it works for folks who are older then there’s no reason why it couldn’t work for folks who are younger. Instead of waiting till you are older to start being active why not start now. Odds are it will help you stay healthier and enjoy a better quality of life now, and by the time you do reach your senior years you’ll already have a head start on staying healthy, both in mind and body.
And if you are already a senior, what are you waiting for? A gold-embossed invitation? Get moving. There’s no time like the present.

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