Does your circle dictate your health? A new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says yes. In fact, the study’s two decades of research indicates that there is a causal relationship between your crew and how long you live because your social integration is related to your physical condition. That means that although you can’t just kick your workout regimen and healthy diet to the curb, you should make sure that you have a social life. It’s as important as how active we are and what we choose to eat.
“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,” said UNC-Chapel Hill professor Kathleen Mullan Harris in a press release.
What defines a healthy social circle, however, changes as you age. Here’s how having friends affects your health at different life stages, according to the study: