Studies show that loneliness is tied to inflammation and hardening of the arteries. Loneliness raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol which has long term damaging effects on the body. Even fruit flies isolated from other fruit flies are fated to shorter life spans.
Loneliness is linked to our evolutionary instinct to need people in order to stay alive. Loneliness is especially prevalent among the elderly who may have lost many of their friends and siblings. They also may have cut back on activities that bring them in contact with others. Maintaining relationships, both close and casual friendships, is beneficial to one’s health.
Being a member of a fitness center and having regular contact with the staff and other members at the club is one way to improve the health of anyone who may be suffering from isolation or loneliness. One of the most satisfying things for our staff here at Quest Fitness is the relationships they have formed with so many of our members. It truly can feel like a family here. There are groups of people that really look out for one another. They have lunch and visit outside of meeting at Quest. They may come in once a week or five times a week to meet and walk in the saltwater pool or visit while riding the incumbent bikes side by side. We’ve watched many friendships bloom and seen groups of friends looking out for members who have fallen sick or suffered a loss. There is a community feel here that is really quite remarkable and even for those who have lost much of their physical stamina, they still come in and do a half mile slow walk on the treadmill and say hello to their friends. Quest Fitness adds social structure and substance to the day for many; not to mention the health benefits of just keeping the body moving and getting off the couch!