The Game That Keeps You Young
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The Game That Keeps You Young

Sure, you could win a jackpot playing bingo, but the bigger prize may be what it does for your health. Research shows that social games may help keep people young.

A study of nearly 1,000 people revealed that increased social activity -- things like going out to eat with friends, taking trips, and, yes, playing Bingo -- decreased the risk of injury and disability in a group of older adults.

The Social Network
Researchers surveyed the group of adults over a period of 5 years, asking questions about their social activities, such as how often they went out and what kinds of activities they engaged in outside the house. Then, the researchers also measured the study participants' ability to perform basic tasks essential to daily living, such as bathing, dressing themselves, getting up and down stairs, doing housework, and the like. And those who got out of the house the most often to do social activities were twice as likely to be disability-free and independent as they aged. (Having trouble getting out because of joint pain? Use this discussion guide to talk about it with your doctor.)

Join the Club
Although it's not exactly clear how socializing wards off disability, the study shows that it's not simply a matter of social people being more active. Scientists theorize that there is something more at work -- that, somehow, frequent interaction with others not only keeps the brain sharp but helps support the musculoskeletal system, too. It may also be that people's social ties motivate them to stay in good physical shape so they can continue to get out and enjoy other people's company. And the study supports other research showing that greater social activity can slow down the decline in motor skills that comes with aging. (Take our quiz to test your knowledge about memory and how you can make sure you're better at it.)

Need to amp up your social life? Try these tips:

Keep yourself healthy for years to come.

Relationships and Family

Relationships and Family

Relationships and family are at the center of human life, and they can have a huge influence on your health. Having good friendships and family support eases stress, helps you avoid mental illness, and gives you energy and courage ...

for living a healthier life. Relationships start when you give someone else your time and attention. If you find yourself isolated, the best thing to do is reach out through community activities or family connections. Finding ways to help others will make you feel better, and then pay off later when you need support. Good health means caring for yourself, which is infinitely easier to do when other people are also caring for you. If your relationships are in trouble, take steps to resolve the conflict through communication or seeking counseling. The payoff is greater well-being for all involved.
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