According to a new study by the University of North Carolina, having good friends is just as beneficial to your health and lifespan as exercise.
The study found that having a solid social group resulted in better health in early and late life, and that those with good social connections tended to live longer.
According to the research, if you are lonely and sad you’ll probably die sooner. The researchers found a link between isolation and issues such as obesity, inflammation and high blood pressure, which can lead long term health issues.
The study also found that our needs for friendship, and how this affects health, change over the years.
In our early years, the size of our social network is most important for health. This is the same in late adulthood, when our health improves if we have a greater number of friends.
But in the main portion of adulthood, it isn’t so much the number of friends that affect health, but how those friendships help in terms of social support.
The key to a long, happy life is to have loads of friends when you’re young, focus on a small group of supportive mates in your twenties to 50s, then go back to meeting lots of new people as you get older.
But remember to exercise as the friendship won’t shed the calories you consume.