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Happy New Year!
I hope that you have had a happy and prosperous 2010 and here’s to a very Happy New Year 2011!
The Carroll County Extension Service will be offering many special programs and activities this coming year. Make it a habit to read my column here in The News-Democrat weekly to keep abreast of these programs and other activities. Also check out the News-Democrat for information from me or Tim Hendrick, our Ag Agent about activities at the Extension office. I hope you are having a blessed and enjoyable holiday with your loved ones and friends.
Benefits of Being Social
Over the holidays many people are spending more time in social activities. Social activity makes physical and mental activity more fun. It also reduces stress levels. But did you know that social activity also helps to maintain a healthy brain and heart and can enhance your immune system to help fight infection and disease?
According to the National Institute on Aging, people who maintain strong social connections with friends, loved ones, and confidants also have lower risks of illness, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Older adults who lose meaningful relationships with people are at greater risk of becoming depressed, marginalized by society, losing their physical and mental vitality, and entering long term care.
Social connections are a key to improved health and perceived well-being. In fact, lifestyles that include stimulating mental activity, especially in the terms of social interaction, are associated with successful aging. So, live longer and healthier by joining groups and participating in different activities around the community. Invite special friends or family members over for a meal, go out to eat with your friends. Ask a friend to go out for a walk with you.
For many, this may be more difficult as you may live alone or your family lives in other areas of Kentucky or in other states. Therefore, for some of you this can be a special challenge but you need to make a special effort to get out and keep yourself involved in social activities. When,or if a friend asks you to join them in a special activity, accept their invitation. It is important for “your social and physical health.”
Ways to seek social connections vary from close personal relationships and emotional support, to sports and cultural activities. Volunteer at the hospital, your church or for another community agency or organization. Join a club, or make arrangements to take a tour with a group. You can come up with many more ways and you should try to do it. Make this one of your New Year’s Resolutions. Remember, it is important for your health and happiness! I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year! See you next year!
Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.