Heart Choices: Fitness Friday ~ Are Friends Good For Your Health? -->

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Fitness Friday ~ Are Friends Good For Your Health?

It's Fitness Friday so let's talk health. I hope you do lots of things to try to take care of your health.

You know the drill ...drink lots of water, eat your fruits and veggies, exercise, get a good night's sleep, eat smaller portion sizes, go to the doctor for a physical, take vitamins, supplements or whatever.

Well, did you know that having friends ...may be good for your health?

I recently read an article that was featured on the front page of the Health section of the New York Times. The title read "What Are Friends For? A Longer Life". Well, that intrigued me enough to keep reading.

I snagged the image from the NY Times article above. I thought it was so cool with the blood pressure reading and the two friend's hands holding flowers. Good job, Stuart Bradford!

Here's some of the latest research:
  • According to a 10 year Australian study, older people who had a large circle of friends were 22% less likely to die during the study than those with fewer friends.
  • Harvard researchers reported last year that strong social ties could promote brain health as we get older.

But listen to this one:

  • According to a large 2007 study, you have an increase of nearly 60% in the risk for obesity if your friends gained weight.

I always knew we become like the friends we spend time with. I like to tell that to my nieces and nephews. And do you know what? It may be true for our animals too.

According to Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, the role of friendship isn't well appreciated and that friendship may have a bigger impact on our psychological well-being ...than family relationships.

Hmm ... I find that interesting. How about you? I guess we can't pick our family ...but we can choose our friends.

In a book entitled "The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship" by Jeffrey Zaslow, the story is told of 11 childhood friends who remained connected despite living in 8 different states.

When two of the friends learned they had breast cancer, the first people they reached out to were their girlfriends from Ames. They felt comfortable discussing anything with them.

And in a study of almost 3,000 nurses with breast cancer, they found that women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as the women with 10 or more friends. What I found very interesting was that having a spouse wasn't as protective.

I don't know about you but having friends helps me in many areas of my life. When I'm stressed, I can call a friend.

I'm also thankful for my blogging friends even though I've not met many of them face to face ...YET.

Knowing that friends care and even pray for me is very comforting. I also find that I am more accountable writing a Fitness Friday post. After all, I need to practice what I preach. So, I exercise more and try to eat healthy because I often write about those topics.

So, what do you think? Do you exercise with friends? Are your friends health conscious too?

Don't forget to stop by Sandy of God Speaks Today for her Fitness Friday post. She's answering lots of questions. And Sarah of All Pain, No Gain will also be joining us each Friday to offer her advice for Fitness Friday. Don't forget, you can't have too many friends, right?

Debbie Petras
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  1. Debbie, this is so funny (not ha ha, but interesting). Over the years, I have had a very close set of ladies I call heart-friends. The interesting thing is ... the two that I hung out with the most were the two heaviest. The three of us had gained a LOT of weight. So interesting!

    Hmmm, I'm going to find me some thinner friends (just kidding). My friend C even pointed out that she was blaming herself for my weight gain. Since I don't see her as much, I'm thinner. Of course, it has to do with my FOOD, but she picked up on this. Interesting!

    Thanks for sharing Debbie. I am grateful for my friends at home and on blogger!

  2. I believe this. It's an area I've been praying about because I have friends, but my "heart" friends don't live close by. I don't feel that closely connected to vey many women that I actually see on a regular basis.

  3. It's unbelievable what an awesome impact our friends can have on our lives! I went through a season in life where all of my friends lived about 800 miles away - and I began to realize how much I actually "needed" them. It's amazing.

    Such a cool post - I really enjoyed it today, thank you!

    Kate :)

  4. Friends are so important. I'm so thankful for all my friends, including the ones I just know through blogging. You are certainly in that category.

  5. Good morning my Friend,
    I loved your post, and am so thankful that you are my "forever friend." And yes, it is so wonderful to have friends...so much to share, good times seem better; bad times, much easier when there is a friend at your side.
    Hope it is a good day for you, my friend. Love you. h.

  6. Great post. So true... we really do need friends. Blogging has helped me so much. The daily encouragement from so many wonderful friends has been truly healing for me. But it does not replace the few close one on one friendships that I desire as well.
    God bless

  7. I have said for years that my friends are my real family. They are there for me whenever I call. They pray for me, help me , understand me and bring me Carvel when I am sick (THAT ONE IS JUST FOR YOU DEBBIE). My friends are all different but they ALL love the LORD and they all pray. They and I am not perfect, even in the area of being a friend, but I know that we all want the very best for each other. My friends who actually make a conscience decision to lead a healthy lifestyle (you and Annie) definitely motivate the rest of us.

    P.S. I loved yesterdays post about fear and the tower we need to run to is Jesus. Thanks Debbie

  8. First of all... I have to apologize about spacing out and not putting link to you or Sandy. It was late, but I added it as soon as I remembered!

    Now as for you post. Right before I got married my best friend and I worked out everyday together. I got in the best shape and I loved that we motivated each other.

    My husband and I are very athletic and we are VERY competitive. I love it that he pushes me to new levels. He's my very favorite workout partner! Partner and crime as well!!

  9. I think friends are great for your health sweetie.

  10. Oh, this is so true. You know, for the longest time I felt guilty for "needing" my friends so much. Almost like it was a weakness or something. And then I realized how God created me for relationships...God is relational to the core. And so am I. So I know now that strong relationships are not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of godliness.

    Blessings FRIEND!!!!!

  11. This is an interesting report you wrote today and one that pleases the heart of God. Just look at the commandments; every one is relational. You really get it, Debbie. I found the statistics informative.

    I had lunch today with a close friend I can share my deep inner places with. She recently lost a lot of weight and I found myself eating differently along with her. I, too, boxed half my sandwich to bring back to my office as did she. And both of us gave the other half to our co-workers! We really do influence one another.

    Great job on this post. And I trust you because you live it and know so much about this due to your medical background.

  12. wow - some of those stats are scary! I didn't realise that people could have such an influence over us physically.

    I have some great friends but one thing that I value very much is being friends with family members. I look forward to having a life-long friendship with my little daughter. I will always be her mother but being her friend will guarantee a lifetime of shared experiences.

    Thanks for the post.

  13. Dear Debbie,
    This last week I truly experienced the importance of having real friends.
    Our little family was in need of divine help and prayer support.
    Without reflecting I sent out an SOS on my cellphone and threw up a blogpost on the internet.
    What a blessing to experience the strength of loving people's support and God's answer.

    Maybe, just maybe, it was good for me to be helpless and feel the comfort of genuine loving friends?

    Even though I still am a little shaky, it sure felt well to know that we are not alone, neither on earth nor in heaven.

    From Felisol


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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