Many of us look to diet and exercise to live a long, fruitful life but you may be overlooking one important ingredient to overall good health: friendship. Whether you fancy yourself a loner or a social butterfly, spending more quality time with family and friends may help you live a longer, healthier life.
While no study pinpoints why people who keep up good relationships with their friends and relatives have longer life expectancies, having an active social network does seem to influence our survival. A 10-year Australian study, published in the "Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health," found that elderly subjects (age 70 or older) with strong social networks were roughly 40 percent more likely to still be living at the end of the study, as opposed to participants who did not maintain long-lasting relationships.
What is it about having friends that means so much? Staying tight with friends and family may help us to curb our vices -- they're the ones most likely to encourage us to stop smoking or give us a shoulder to lean on. Furthermore, researchers are noticing that our friends may also help us fight illness, recover faster and stay young.