Family watching tv together

The Health Benefits of Family Time

Keeping up with the pace of modern-day life can be a difficult task. Work, exercise and everyday duties such as cleaning and cooking often take the majority of our time, often at the expense of family time. But according to research, family time is just as crucial for your health as a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Here are three health benefits of spending quality time with your family:

Less Stress

Confiding in your friends and family is one of the best ways to relieve stress. This is good news, as health issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, and heart arrhythmia have been linked to high stress levels. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 36% of its participants spent more time with their family to deal with stress. Spending time with your family reduces your risk of developing certain health issues, and helps you avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as binge eating.

Increased Life Expectancy

Research indicates that social connections are just as important as eating healthily. Spending time with your family and friends can help you lead a longer life. In a separate study by the University of California, researchers found that senior citizens who spent more time with their family had a better quality of life than their counterparts and were less likely to suffer from depression, cognitive impairment and coronary heart disease.

Better Mental Health

Another health benefit of family-time is improved mental health. Numerous studies have found a link between social interaction and improved mental health. An October 2015 study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that face-to-face interaction can reduce the risk of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Notice the emphasis on “face-to-face”. While texting and social media are convenient ways to keep in touch with loved ones, they are no substitute for being in their presence.

The benefits of spending time with your family are clear. You’d be hard-pressed to find the warmth, support and love that is shared without measure at home. But it turns out a healthy family life is linked not only to a healthy mind but a healthy body as well.

Whenever someone resolves to lead a healthier lifestyle, they run through the usual checklist of behaviors to achieve their goal: eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and try to get at least eight hours of sleep per day. But it seems one more powerful component could drastically improve their health. That solution is found in the after-work chat with their partner, a day of gardening with their children or a lively conversation with a sibling.

It’s clear: more family time is just what the doctor ordered.