Anti-Aging Benefits of Strong Social Networks
The Beatles said it best: We all "get by with a little help from our friends." Keith Roach, MD
, Chief Medical Officer of Sharecare and co-creator of the RealAge® Test
, agrees. “Friends and family are a way of mediating the stress in our lives,” says Dr. Roach. “The worst thing is to feel alone with no one to talk to.”
Having a strong social network of friends and family (no, we’re not talking about Facebook or Twitter, but real face-to-face or phone interaction) doesn’t just make you feel better; it can make your RealAge younger – up to 2.6 years younger if you’re a man and 2.5 years younger if you’re a woman. Study after study shows that social connections protect you -- and your buddies -- from high blood pressure, stress, inflammation and memory loss. The number of friends matters, too. “If you have a whole bunch of people you small talk with, that’s not helpful,” says Roach. “It’s really about close friends you call up when things are bothering you.” Click through to find out the top 10 cities where residents have the strongest social ties.