It’s been said that variety is the spice of life, and now scientists say variety in your social circle may help you live longer. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that older adults who spend more time interacting with a wide range of people were more likely to be physically active and had greater emotional well-being.

In a paper in  February. 2019 in the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. These researchers found those study participants who interacted more with family members and close friends, as well as acquaintances, casual friends, service providers, and strangers. They were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, less time spent sitting or lying around, greater positive moods and fewer negative feelings. It is the first study to link social engagement with physical activity throughout the day.

“Adults often grow less physically active and more sedentary as they age, and these behaviours pose a risk factor for disease and death,” said Karen Fingerman, a professor of human development and family sciences at UT Austin and the director of the university’s new Texas Aging & Longevity Centre. “It is difficult to convince people to go to the gym or commit to working out on a regular basis. But they may be willing to reach out to acquaintances, attend an organised group event, or talk to the barista who serves them at their favourite coffee shop. Socialising in these contexts also can increase physical activity and diverse behaviours in ways that benefit health without necessarily working up a sweat.”

The researchers asked study participants about their activities and social encounters every three hours for about a week. Participants also wore electronic devices to monitor their physical activity. Fingerman and the team observed that during the three-hour periods when participants were engaging with a greater variety of social partners, they reported engaging in a greater variety of activities such as leaving the house, walking, talking with others, or shopping. They also engaged in more objectively measured physical activity, and less time being sedentary.

Above extracts were taken from the article published on the website ScienceDaily, link below;


The above research confirms that older adults who spend more time interacting with a wide range of people are more likely to be physically active and have greater emotional well-being.