There have been many studies demonstrating that friendship can reduce depression and help with many other emotional and psychological issues but did you know that friends can physically make you healthier? In 1979 it was reported that the risk of mortality doubled in a nine year period for those who participated with the fewest social ties than those with the most social ties. More recently, it was published that relationships actually physically protect the heart. So while you’re visiting the Y don’t forget to say hi! We have many opportunities to meet new people or reconnect with your friends during events, group fitness, group personal training, or bring your own friend and turn them into your workout buddy.

Friends can be your best asset, or worst liability when trying to make a healthy change. Let your friends know if you are setting goals to have healthier habits. That way they can support you. Some great goals to for a healthier heart include:

According to the CDC uncontrolled blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure you are 4 times more likely to die from stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. So come into the Y and get your head where your heart is, we will check your blood pressure and help you get on the road to a healthy lifestyle!

Even 10 minutes a day can make an impact on heart health. If you feel like you are just too busy opt to walk to go get lunch or instead of making phone calls at your desk get up and talk to people in person. Once you have that down go for longer increments or more intensity!

Salt can negatively impact your blood pressure so opt for lower salt options and make sure you read the labels and know what your goals are. Fiber actually reduces your risk of heart disease; less saturated fat in your diet can move your cholesterol numbers in the right direction. Eating fish 2 times a week can help you get omega-3 fatty acids and protect against heart disease.

If you smoke you increase your risk for heart attack. If your friends often smoke with you see if they would be interested in quitting together.