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How Social Fitness Can Lead to a Longer Life

February 7th, 2023

What makes people happy and healthy?

Back in 1938, researchers at Harvard sought to answer that exact question.

They started by surveying health records from 724 people, and then they continued to survey those same health records every two years thereafter. Among other things, they asked these subjects about their state of mind.

The results, which were recorded over the course of 85 years, have been surprising.

Participants who reported the greatest happiness in life did not associate their happiness with things like career, money, or health.

Rather, the most important determining factor to living a long, happy, healthy life is being able to maintain positive relationships with other people, otherwise known as social fitness.

Why You Need Positive Relationships in Your Life

Humans don’t typically thrive when alone. With few exceptions, people do best when they are interconnected with other people. Most of us depend on others for day-to-day support in a number of ways, including:

  • Security (i.e. we need people we can count on in a crisis)
  • Personal growth (i.e. we need people who convince us to try new things)
  • Shared experiences (i.e. we need people we’ve done things with that affirm who we are)
  • Confidences (i.e. we need people we can trust with our most intimate information)
  • Intimacy (this is typically a spouse or a significant other)
  • Help (i.e. we need people who can assist us with practical problems)
  • Fun (i.e. we need people that we can do fun things with or who make us laugh)

It would be nearly impossible to get all of the above from one person. Rather, we generally need a network of people who collectively satisfy these needs.

How to Work On Your Social Fitness

Positive social relationships don’t happen automatically. Just like you have to get regular exercise to stay in good physical shape, your relationship skills need constant attention, too, or they can wither away.

Fortunately, keeping your relationships in good shape is generally more fun than physical exercise. There are lots of different ways to connect…and stay connected…with the people who are important in your life.

And you can create new relationships at any time.

Here are just a few ways you can keep your social fitness in tiptop shape:

  1. Use social media
  2. Don’t let the negative press dissuade you. Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, or to get back in touch with people if you’ve fallen out of touch.

  3. Attend networking events
  4. Work doesn’t have to be all work. Networking events are designed to make it easy to meet new people. Good icebreakers include “What do you do?”; “What do you like the most about your job?”; and “How did you get into that type of work?”

  5. Join a group related to one of your interests
  6. Hiking, model trains, books, gardening…name an activity and there’s a group or a club filled with like-minded people. And these are people you already have something in common with.

  7. Get involved with a charity
  8. Nothing feels good like helping others. And service organizations are always looking for volunteers. You’ll be helping people in need while making new friends.

  9. Join an exercise class
  10. Nothing breaks down those social inhibitions like a little sweat. Most fitness centers offer a variety of classes for all abilities.

Studies show that improved social fitness leads to longer lifespan, as well as better physical and mental health.

At Renew Youth, we know that the improved sense of well-being that can be achieved through bioidentical hormone therapy can give you the extra self-confidence you need in new social situations. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Renew Youth by calling 800-859-7511 or use our contact form.

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