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How can joining a book club improve my health?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Building brain power and making social connections delivers a double dose of “I feel healthy and happy!”  In fact, mental aerobics plus active friendships is more than a sum of 2. Together they equal 5 (five emotional and physical health benefits, that is). The combo of using mental power and talking with friends reduces stress levels, boosts serotonin (the feel-happier and have-less-pain brain chemical) levels, grows brain connections, reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and protects your heart.

For those looking to ramp up a later-in-life style, a group of good pals to hang out and discuss books with doubles your chance of avoiding various disabilities and more than doubles the time you can continue to manage everything from meals to meds. Bonus: It turns out you can grow new brain cells (we used to think there were only a set number and they died off throughout life). More perks: Getting wrapped up in almost any extracurricular group activity sends blood pressure down and immunity and fun up.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.