Michel: Stay Connected: Good friends, strong marriage make for healthy living

Published 12:07 am Saturday, March 18, 2017

You probably already know that getting together with friends is fun.

I love knowing people with whom I can openly and honestly share my life. But did you know that it’s also healthy?

In the article, Why Love Heals, Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, MD state that while isolation can cause stress and actually hurt us, connection can bring healing through the same physical mechanisms as exercise and a healthy diet.

While it didn’t suggest you drop your gym membership or exist only on fast food, studies show those who maintain positive relationships with family members and friends enjoy health benefits.

Four thousand men and women in California were part of a study that determined a direct link between the size of one’s social circle and survival, with larger circles bringing even greater longevity.

Having either a good marriage or just one close friend cuts the risk of mortality by a third, and the benefit increases the more your circle broadens — both quality and quantity count.

The article also states that “blood vessels are measurably more elastic, the heart’s ability to respond to extraordinary demands is higher, cardiac inflammatory protein levels are lower and blood pressure response to exercise is better in more connected people. Their stress-hormone blood profiles are measurably healthier than those of isolated people.”

In addition, it was noted people whose faith is an important part of their lives enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction and emotional well-being.

So get together with a few friends for coffee, dinner or a game night. It may be just what you need!

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.