6 Fun Things to Do with Your Loved Ones that Will Boost Your Health
Flowers and chocolate may be the hottest selling items around Valentine’s Day, but the celebration isn’t confined to romantic relationships. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with anyone you love – from Grandma to your children to close friends. And research shows that people who have several healthy social or family relationships actually enjoy better health.
The Health Impact
Here’s an inside look at why positive relationships are good for us. And keep reading to discover a list of six fun activities to try out with your loved ones.
- Lower Stress Levels – Healthy relationships with friends and family provide support and interaction that can help reduce stress. In fact, being in a committed relationship is linked to less production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
- Less Illness – Lower stress levels can boost your physical health as well. Stress can be a contributor to heart disease and high blood sugar, and it also inhibits the immune system. People with emotional support also tend to recover better from illness and surgery.
- Longer Life – Studies show that people who have strong social ties are more likely to live longer than those who are more isolated. One study noted that a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
6 Fun Ways to Spend Time Together
If you’re looking for creative ways to spend more time with family or friends, try these six ideas. Be warned: you’ll need to put your phone and tablet down for each of these.
- Read a Book – Select a book to read together and then spend time discussing the ideas and characters. Depending on the length of the book, this can be a fun weekend activity or span several weeks. If you have younger children and are reading to them, take the time to talk about the story and illustrations as you read.
- Volunteer In Your Community – Find a cause you and your loved ones are passionate about and then volunteer together. You can probably find a wide range of opportunities to do good for others and contribute to your community — from serving in a soup kitchen to tutoring a child or cleaning up a stream bank. Some non-profits provide ways for whole families to get involved.
- Exercise Together – When a spouse or a friend is your workout partner, it can help you stick to an exercise routine. Whether it’s a yoga class, time on the tennis courts, or lifting weights, a partner can make exercise fun. Sports like swimming, biking, and hiking can be ideal for family members of all ages.
- Remember When – Looking through old photos with family or friends can be a great way to spend a winter evening. You’ll probably laugh at some of the memories. Children enjoy seeing how they looked at a younger age and photos of Mom and Dad in earlier years.
- Learn a New Hobby – Start new traditions with friends or family by exploring a hobby. This could include taking a pottery or art class together, collecting baseball cards, or trying your hand at baking.
- Break Out the Board Games – Board games can exercise your mind and create interaction and conversation with loved ones. You can choose to keep score if you like friendly competition, or just enjoy the game without declaring a winner or loser.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Loved Ones With Regular Checkups
An annual physical or an appointment to address new health symptoms can be one of the best ways to take care of yourself or a loved one. If you or a family member needs experienced care, the team of doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants at LeBauer HealthCare can help.