New UT Austin study finds staying social helps seniors live longer

If you're an older adult, scientists say having some variety in your social circle can help you live longer.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that older adults who spend more time interacting with a wide range of people were more likely to be physically active and had greater emotional well-being.

In a paper released Wednesday, in the "Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences," researchers found that study participants who interacted more with family members and close friends, as well as acquaintances, casual friends, service providers and even strangers were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity, less time spent sitting or lying around, greater positive moods and fewer negative feelings.

The study included more than 300 adults over 65 years old who lived in the Austin metro area and controlled for factors such as age, race, gender, marital status, education and ethnicity.

The researchers asked study participants about their activities and social encounters every three hours for about a week, and participants also wore electronic devices to monitor their physical activity.

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