5 Keys to A Longer and Healthier Life

11/15/2012

Figuring out the keys to a healthy lifestyle can be confusing among the hundreds of recommendations from experts, but which factors are the most important for a long and healthy life? A study published in PLOS Medicine by Julianne Holt-Lunstad and colleagues, averaged the effects of hundreds of studies to provide some clues about which health behaviors might have the most powerful ties to longevity.

What they found was that social connectedness (having a large, supportive social network) had the strongest associations with longevity. The effects of exercise, diet, and moderating substance were still important for a healthy lifestyle, but having strong social connections was the most powerful.

Other research shows that strong social connections show significant ties to better immune functioning, less cardiovascular disease, and lower levels of stress. So, it’s important to make time for strengthening your social ties, even when you’re strapped for time. You can try activities with others such as running groups, team sports, or spending some quality time with a friend over a healthy meal. The decision to make time to focus on your social connections may be the healthiest decision you ever make.

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More from Dr. Ty Tashiro:

Body Image Lessons from Lady Gaga

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Ty Tashiro is the author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, an entertaining look at why modern dating is so challenging, why people can easily make bad partner choices, and how science can help us make smart decisions in the search for enduring love. It's available on Amazon, Indie Bound and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Ty received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota. His research has appeared in top academic journals and he has been an award-winning professor at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado. Follow him on facebook and twitter.
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