Social Activity

Call a friend — it's good for you!

Your mother told you an apple a day would keep the doctor away but did you know enjoying a card game or having a chat over a cup of tea can have the same effect? Being socially connected is a key factor in optimal aging and in overall health and well-being.

  • Being social improves your brain performance, including your memory, and lowers your risk of developing dementia.
  • Spending time with people improves your mood and actually lowers your risk of depression.
  • Having someone you can confide in reduces your risk of stress-related illnesses

Where to start?

  • Call a friend of have a coffee date, or go for a walk with a friend. Spending time with people actually improves brain health.
  • Try volunteering. This is a good way to meet new people and learn something new.
  • Get closer with acquaintances: There are likely people you cross paths with regularly but don’t know very well. Let others know you are interested in them and their lives – ask about their favorite hobbies, or just give them a genuine compliment.
  • Challenge yourself to say "yes": Challenge yourself to say yes to more invitations for a month—party invitations, book clubs, dances, card or other game nights—then try to connect with at least three new people at each gathering.
  • Make the most of your hobbies/interests and join a group: Do something you enjoy with others. Look for social opportunities with the things you already love to do.
  • Show up alone: Going to an event without a friend or significant other by your side can be a little scary but it can also encourage you to be more outgoing.
  • Change it up: Take a morning yoga class? Try evening class a few times to see some new faces. Take your dog to a different park.
  • Reach out to a senior you know: Many seniors feel lonely but find it difficult to ask for company. Consider taking the first step to let them know you value them by asking to visit or offering to take them out for lunch.

Set a goal!

To tap into your fountain of health for optimal aging, set a social activity goal from the list above, or choose one of your own. Remember the more specific, measurable and realistic your goal is, the more likely you are to succeed!

For example, if your social activity goal is to have one social outing for 30 minutes each week, make it more specific by deciding exactly which day, what time, and with whom?

Once you set your goal, keep track of it by emailing your goal to yourself, or share it with others by email or Facebook~ you might just help to inspire someone else!

Share your goal:

Still not sure what to do?

Learn more about the science behind social activity in our Evidence Base and in our Resources section and share this page with someone, and then brainstorm ideas together on how to increase your social activities.