Researchers have discovered that it is one of the best ways of preventing mental and cognitive decline.
In a study of 1,138 adults with an average age of 80 years, those who had an active social life had just one quarter the rate of cognitive decline as someone who lived a more isolated life.
Social activity involved anything from going to a restaurant, attending a sporting event, playing bingo, going on trips, volunteering for charitable work, visiting friends or relatives or going to church.
The researchers from Rush University Medical Center aren't sure why social activity is so important. It could be that it presents us with new challenges and situations that keep the neural networks working, they surmise.
(Source: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 2011; 1, doi: 10.1017/S1355617711000531).