Who You Spend Time With Impacts Health

Nov 30, 2022


Blue Zones research shows that who you spend your time with affects your health.

Did you know your social circle can affect your physical health? According to the Blue Zones Project, which researches populations of the healthiest, longest-lived people around the world, it can. People are influenced by their social circles, so by surrounding yourself with people who are happy, healthy and avoid negative habits such as smoking, you can improve your own health outlook.

Committing to health

Krista Howell, an exercise physiologist, sees this principle play out three times a week with her cardiac exercise class at Adventist Health Sonora’s Live Well Be Well Center. This particular exercise group embodies the Blue Zones concept of surrounding oneself with other healthy people. “We have an exercise group that’s made of people from their 70s all the way to a woman who just turned 96,” Howell explains. “They come three times a week, and they are fully committed — they never miss it. It’s part of keeping active.”

Working out together

In Okinawa, Japan, a group of women make up the longest-lived population in the world — and part of their lifelong health is thanks to their small, committed friend groups. Howell says she sees the importance of a supportive social group in the Live Well Be Well exercise group, too. “For a lot of them, it’s not even about the exercise — it’s about the connection, socialization, having a sense of purpose,” she explains. “Blue Zones is about having connection and purpose in your life to have a healthy body and spirit, and they really live that out.”

Contagious positivity

Blue Zones research shows loneliness is contagious — but so is happiness. Howell believes a big part of the good health of her class members is that they are positive together. “The person who gets up every day, has a routine, spends time with others, they tend to have a more positive attitude and feel less depression about aging. It’s somehow wired in them,” she says. She shares that she rarely hears the people in her class complain about aches and pains, and many are living healthy lives without any medication. “The people in my class really inspire me — they are the embodiment of a positive attitude.”

Watch this fun video to see the cardiac exercise class in action and be inspired!