Think you’re ticking all the health boxes by taking your hitting the gym a few times a week, eating all the veggies, sleeping 8 hours a night and popping a multivitamin with your breakfast? Nice work! But there might be a piece missing to the longevity puzzle.  

 

Mounting evidence suggests that feeling connected to others is just as important to your health as exercise and eating well. It’s not just your mental health that benefits from daily social interaction, but your physical health does too.

 

This fascinating study showed a lack of social connection is worse for your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. In fact, this research found a 50 per cent increased likelihood of survival for people with stronger social relationships – a finding independent of other variables like age, sex, or health status.

 

Social connections provide a sense of worthiness and ultimately provide a sense of meaning that give us purpose in our lives. This study shows those connected to people in their community showed lower rates of anxiety and depression. Controlling for health status, this survey study found an increased risk of disease and mortality among people with low quantity or low quality social relationships.

 

Even though social connection is an important piece to the longevity puzzle, making those connections (and maintaining them!) as we age can be hard. Priorities change – work schedules and family commitments leave little time for new connections. Shared interest, or similar schedules, however, can be a great way to maintain and make new social connections.

 

At In-Shape, our community is constantly reminding us of the importance of these social connections. We love seeing members make new connections with other members – meeting to workout together, the friendships that form in Group Fitness classes, or when members hang out in the lobby catching up over a cup of coffee. Simply checking in 12 times in one month earns members a spot in the Fit Club and a special prize! By joining the Fit Club and making In-Shape a big part of your weekly routine, you’ll easily meet like-minded people. And who knows, maybe one of them will end up becoming a close social connection and help you live to 100!

 

So, connection could be the missing piece to the longevity puzzle. Keep working out, eating well and taking care of your body but don’t forget meeting up with a friend to work out, those after work FaceTime’s with loved ones, Sunday brunches with your friends, or weekly BodyPump® classes are just as important.