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Going out tonight? People with busy social lives are more likely to stay healthy into old age

It helps to stay busy.

Image: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon

PEOPLE WHO HAVE an active social life are less likely to get sick later in life.

New research published by the American Psychological Association this week suggests that staying active into old age helps lessen the decline of health experienced in old age.

The research was published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

“Our results indicate that living a socially active life and prioritising social goals are associated with higher late-life satisfaction and less severe declines toward the end of life,” said study lead author Denis Gerstorf PhD, of Humboldt University.

The researchers compared well-being (as measured by answers on a scale of 0 to 10 to the question, “How satisfied are you with your life concurrently, all things considered?”), participation in social activities, social goals (how important they found participating in social or political activities) and family goals (how much they valued their marriage or relationships with their children) during the last few years in life.

They found that being active socially and maintaining social goals were associated with higher well-being. However, family goals are not.

“A socially engaged lifestyle often involves cognitive stimulation and physical activity, which in turn may protect against the neurological and physical factors underlying cognitive decline,” said Gert Wagner from the German Institute for Economic Research, one of the co-authors.

“Our results indicate that social orientation is related to maintaining well-being for as long as possible into the very last years of life.”

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