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friendship_healthy_study2If your regular weekend routine is “sweat then brunch,” you’re basically living the healthy-trifecta dream: good sweat, good eats, and good company. But if sipping your post-spin kale smoothie with a side of Netflix and Instagram is your ideal Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday) night, it may be time to change up your routine—by bonding more IRL.

A new study (that analyzed results from four other large, long-term studies) reveals that it’s not just what we eat and how we exercise that impacts our health—it’s our relationships, too. Having an active social life has been shown to reduce a person’s risk of death by at least 50 percent, research shows, and now this study further confirms that everything’s better with friends, no matter how old you are.

“In adolescence, social isolation is equivalent to the effects of getting no exercise,” Kathleen Mullan Harris, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior author of the paper, told the Boston Globe. “The lack of social connections in old age is equivalent to having diabetes, in terms of increasing hypertension.”

The study also found that the fewer social connections a person had, the poorer their physical health—judging by body mass index, biomarkers for inflammation, abdominal weight, and blood pressure.

So put on your party pants and hit up a group meditation with your crew—or finally splurge on that cousins-only trip to Tulum. It’s for your health, after all. —Alison Feller

If not Tulum, how about Marrakech, or the coast of Spain, or Brazil—all are playing host to some of the best wellness retreats in the world right now.

(Photo: David Marcu/Stocksnap.io)