A Dose of Companionship

When it comes to boosting health, your best bet may be to settle down. The National Center for Health Statistics found that married couples reported fewer health problems, smoked less, and were more physically active than their single or cohabitating unmarried counterparts.

But even if you’re still waiting for nuptial bliss, know that friendship combats sickness, depression, and even high blood pressure. One study found that partnering up with a pal for exercise produced greater weight loss results than going alone. Buddies can act as trustworthy (and inexpensive) therapists — lending their shoulders to catch your tears, hands to catch your falls, and minds to catch your thoughts.

Seek out new relationships with this tip for fostering bonds:

Court within your court. Get active at your place of worship; join a club that caters to your hobbies or favorite sports; volunteer for an organization you care about. By inserting yourself into a group, chances are you’ll connect with others who share your values and interests.
Build on existing relationships with this tool for growth:

Talk, don’t type. An email may be efficient, but it’s not necessarily an effective communication method. Pick up the phone and call to re-establish real connections. Set aside time each week to talk; adding 3-4 scheduled chats can nurture your health as much as exercise, say experts (but talking isn’t meant to replace physical activity, of course).

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