Join The UVM Medical Center “Gift of Friends Giveaway” on Facebook and Instagram. The contest runs through December 14, 2015. We will show you how your social wellbeing connects to your overall health and wellbeing. Join the fun!

friendship and fitness in the parc

Having close friends and positive social relationships are good for our health and wellbeing. Friendship has psychological benefits. But, did you know it can also benefit your physical wellbeing?

Tom Rath, author of Well Being, found that: “Relationships serve as a buffer during tough times, which in turn improves our cardiovascular functioning and decreases stress levels. On the other hand, people with very few social ties have nearly twice the risk of dying from heart disease and are twice as likely to catch colds — even though they are less likely to have the exposure to germs that comes from frequent social contact.” (Click here to learn more about Rath’s research on social wellbeing and its connection to physical health).

The research also shows that having friends nearby matters when it comes to your health. So, how about strengthening your current friendships — and making some new ones — through physical fitness?

Here are 10 ways you can do that, starting today:

  1. Join a group exercise class, then introduce yourself and ask for tips on the first day of class.
  2. Sign up for a group walking or running group, then suggest getting together for a healthy snack after your workout.
  3. Get active with volunteering, then get a couple of friends or family members together to walk dogs at the local animal shelter.
  4. Choose an active hobby that gets you outside and meeting new people.
  5. Let your inner athlete out with an adult sports league, then get in on some friendly competition.
  6. Check out the fitness calendar at a local apparel store, then take advantage of a free class to get fit and meet new people.
  7. Get schooled in a health topic in which you are interested. Maybe you want to try a cooking class, or learn a new skill like scuba diving. Follow your interests to find friends with common ground.
  8. Challenge yourself with a race, then either get a few friends in on the race with you, or train with the organization hosting the event. They often offer training classes to event participants.
  9. Go online and find social media groups or meet-up groups that share your fitness interests.
  10. Start your own fitness group! Talk to your friends about what they are interested in and get your group off the ground.

In no time at all you will be making new pals and getting healthier in the process. Sounds like a win-win to us.




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