Harvard Men's Health Watch

A little help from your friends

Fostering strong social connections does not come easy for many men, but it is one of the best means to a longer and healthier life.

Social connections are as important to your health as proper diet and exercise. Research has linked social bonding to longer lives, lower incidence of depression and anxiety, and reduced risk of disease.

"Our brains and bodies function best when we are part of a community and maintain close, personal connections," says Dr. William S. Pollack, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Yet, for many men, being socially active is a challenge. In fact, a study by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre-UK found that 23% of men older than age 50 have contact with friends less than once a month.

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