Let’s say you’re exercising regularly, watching your diet, and getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. You should absolutely be proud of yourself. However, there is one more important component that is essential to add to your list for maintaining a healthy mind and body. That is a good social life. Socializing has been linked to numerous positive effects on brain health.
According to Harvard Health, socializing has the ability to stimulate attention and memory, as well as help to strengthen neural networks (Bilodeau, 2021). Scientists have established that individuals with strong social connections experience better thinking skills and less cognitive decline than those who spend their time alone (GCBH, 2017). One large study with over 12,000 participants even suggests that loneliness increases risk of dementia by nearly 40% (Bilodeau, 2021).
Now, of course humans vary on the degree to which they desire social interaction. Perhaps, you have always considered yourself an introvert. Or, perhaps you have simply drifted apart from old friends with time and family members are becoming busier and busier with their own lives. Regardless, you still share the fundamental need to interact with others!
Social interaction can become more difficult as you get older, so here are some ideas for how to stay social later in life:
– Rekindle old friendships. Try to get back in touch with old friends! Since you’ve had a strong relationship at one point, the connection should come back far easier than meeting anyone new.
– Focus on the quality of the relationships rather than the number of friends you’re accumulating. Having close meaningful relationships is much more beneficial than maintaining relationships as if they are a chore. A rocky or difficult relationship is actually much worse for you than having no relationship at all. You should be feeling rejuvenated and happy after being around someone. Avoid relationships that drain your energy.
– Connect over video call. With distance between old friends and family members, video call may be the only way to consistently stay in touch. Plan times to chat with your loved ones!
– Volunteer. Pick a cause that is significant to you and spend time helping out to better your community, while meeting others that share the same interest. Maybe even invite a friend to join you!
– Join a club. From a book club to a dance group, or even a health community like Vivo, interacting with others and engaging your mind socially will benefit your health.
– Connect with your Vivo community! Did you know that Vivo provides a great community where you’ll have more opportunity to stay connected to loved ones? Join the same class as your family and friends! Or, take time to meet your classmates and get involved in the Vivo community. Classes are small, personal, and supportive of your fitness journey!
– Mia Shaw, Vivo Content Editor