You eat right and exercise. You get your flu shot. You even drink cod liver oil because it is the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids AND vitamin D, all together in one foul cocktail that you burp until lunch. Preventative care is your middle name. But there is one healthy living tip that you may not have heard. A tip so powerful that the evidence supporting it is even more compelling than than that of cigarettes causing cancer or obesity causing heart disease, according to Drs. Willcox, Willcox and Suzuki, authors of the famous longevity study The Okinawa Program.
It turns out that the number one factor under your control in regards to how long you live (and probably how worth living that long life will be) is: a positive social community. All this time you thought you were just loving your friends and family because they’re great people but it turns out that love fest is doing you a lot of good as well.
Recently I was asked by the delightfully accented Jamillah Knowles of the BBC (you like how I just drop that into conversation? I WAS ON THE BBC!! I might have business cards printed up saying “Charlotte, proprietress of The Great Fitness Experiment, BBC interviewee.” I’d put it on my resume if I still had one.) about my best tip for keeping your healthy living resolutions. My answer? The Gym Buddies. Listen to the whole podcast (of me sounding hilariously awkward and repeating the word “absolutely” way too many times) to learn more about fitness community building!
Not only are my peeps good for making me run faster sprints and lift heavier weight and sweat a bigger, nastier puddle in Turbokick but they have also been known to circle the wagons when I have a wardrobe malfunction and laugh with me when I might prefer to be crying. The healthful benefits of having a close circle of loved ones extends far beyond the gym though. Research has shown that people who have at least 6 close social connections but poor eating health habits live longer than those who eat clean and exercise but have 3 or fewer relationships. Of course those who live the longest have both healthy habits and a strong social network.
Friends have been getting some bad press lately (remember the whole “your friends make you fat” furor??) but they might just be the best thing that’s happened to you. So, in an effort to expand my circle of beloveds, I have finally (been assimilated by the borg) and joined Twitter. Wanna follow me? (Did that feel any less pathetic reading it than when I wrote it?) Or just curious to see if I can limit myself to a measly 140 characters? Click on the “follow me” birdie at the top of the page! (I will be moving it to a less obnoxious place on the sidebar in a week or two.)
How have your friends influenced your healthy lifestyle? Do you know any centenarians?? And if you tweet, what’s your username so I can follow you too? (Again, with the creepy!)