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Studies show friends can help us keep active and live longer

Posted: Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:17

Studies show friends can help us keep active and live longer

Recent research has shown that maintaining strong relationships can help us to achieve our fitness and health goals and keeps us generally healthier and happier. But following in the footsteps of our more active friends is crucial.

We all have that person in our friendship group who just seems to live a little better than everyone else. It's the person who treats themselves to a bowl of fruit and muesli after a 6.00am pre-work jog. Or the person who is always dressed immaculately at any social event and is aware of precisely the moment they've had enough to drink and when it's time to go home. If you can't think of who that is in your group, then it's probably you and it seems the active lifestyle you lead could be having a positive effect on those around you as well.

According to recent research reported in the Daily Mail, it seems keeping people around who drive us to want to achieve our goals not only helps us stay positive but also enables us to become fitter and healthier. Author of the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, Amy Morin, told the newspaper: "there's a lot of research on how the people we surround ourselves with affect our self-control. Having close friends can help you to live longer from blood pressure to your cholesterol levels."

Recent research from the University of New England supports this idea as it found working out is most effective when it is a group exercise. The study found that exercising in a group reduced stress levels by 26 percent in some people compared to those who worked out alone.

Many studies have drawn similar conclusions, that our friends influence us for better or for worse. This was highlighted when newspapers reported in 2007 that obesity is contagious, the less reported positive flipside of that phenomenon was also proved true by the 2011 Framingham Heart Study which showed that people who are healthy and active are far more likely to share a social group with people with similar health characteristics.

So while it might be discouraging sometimes to swap stories of your recent fitness achievements with more active friends, simply surrounding yourself with people who want to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle might just be good for you.

Finally, Amy Morin concludes in her article: "You still want to have fun with your friends, even if some of them might influence you to do certain things. It's about finding a balance."

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Tags: Fitness, Friends, Group Activities