Older people who want to keep up muscle strength and motor skills by exercising are missing an important trick - social activity is just as important.
While common sense suggests that exercise would be enough to maintain muscle strength, speed and dexterity into old age, researchers have discovered that being active socially is just as important.
Doing volunteer work, attending sports or social events, or even visiting friends and relatives all helped to maintain good physical health. According to a new study of 906 retired people, physical decline was around one-third more rapid among those who were socially inactive, even if they still exercised.
(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2009; 169: 1139-46).