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The Game That Keeps You Young

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.

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.

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

Keep yourself healthy for years to come.

Medically reviewed in December 2018.

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