Science Says Friends Are Just As Important To Your Health As Exercise

Comedy Central

Didn't get to the gym today? That's OK, as long as you have friends.

According to new research out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having a solid social network throughout your life is pretty damn important to your health -- as important as getting enough exercise, in fact.

Researchers found being socially isolated is pretty much equal to being physically inactive in terms of obesity risk, and not having a social network was linked with other health problems like inflammation, high blood pressure and more.

Interestingly, different types of relationships matter at different stages of life. As an adolescent, it's more important for your health to have a large social network, while in middle adulthood, quality of relationships matters more than quantity.

Researcher Kathleen Mullan Harris noted,

Based on these findings, it should be as important to encourage adolescents and young adults to build broad social relationships and social skills for interacting with others as it is to eat healthy and be physically active.

This isn't the first time social isolation was studied. In fact, previous research suggested feelings of loneliness are twice as likely to kill you as being overweight, which is pretty terrifying.

My suggestion? Work out with your friends. Then you'll probably live forever.

Citations: Social networks as important as exercise, diet across the span of our lives (ScienceDaily)