We’ve all heard phrases like “humans crave connection.” And most of us believe that! We feel better knowing there are people around who’re looking out for us. But, what if human connection impacts us not only in psychological ways but also in physical ways.  

According to a recent article from Club Solutions Magazine, humans — because of necessity — evolved into social beings. Dependence and cooperation with each other has enhanced our ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances. While survival threats have lessened over time, people continue to have a need to affiliate with others. So, industry leaders are correct–humans do crave connection, but they often don’t realize socialization has a powerful influence on our health. Here is some data to prove it: 

According to the article, in 1938, scientists began tracking the health of two groups of men — 268 sophomores at Harvard University and 456 ages 11 to 16 from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods — beginning the start of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. In the midst of the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues as to how humans can lead healthy and happy lives. According to the article, over time, some developed alcoholism, some climbed corporate ladders all the way to the top, and some came crashing down in the opposite direction. After 75-plus years and thousands of pages of research, one clear message has been discovered — good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

In his talk, Robert Waldinger, the 4th director of the study said there are three significant lessons from the study:

  1. Loneliness kills. At any given time, one in five Americans report they’re lonely. There are greater physical declines in lonely people, and brain functioning can decline earlier.

  2. It’s the quality of our relationships that matter. According to Waldinger, “When we gathered everything we knew about them, at age 50 it wasn’t their middle age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. Those who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

  3. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. “It turns out being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your eighties is protective,” explained Waldinger. 

  4. Lastly, Waldinger said over the 75 years, the study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, friends and community.

Do something healthy for your mind and body and get a friend to work out with you at our group fitness classes! For more information on the science of loneliness, visit the article referenced above: https://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2021/10/loneliness-kills-this-research-proves-it/