Researchers in the U.K. have found the secret to a longer and healthier life. Apparently, you can live longer by joining a book club. While it's not the elixir of immortality you might have hoped for, joining a book club can help you maintain your social connections when you're at risk of withdrawing.
The study, published in BMJ Open , focused on the benefits of social group participation in the handful of years immediately before and after retirement, and found that:
Retirees who had two group memberships prior to retirement had a 2% risk of [premature] death in the first 6 years of retirement if they maintained membership in two groups, a 5% risk if they lost one group and a 12% risk if they lost both groups. Furthermore, for every group membership that participants lost in the year following retirement, their experienced quality of life 6 years later was approximately 10% lower.
Wow. That's a lot of impact for a book club or two to have.
Obviously, most Bustle readers aren't approaching retirement. But you could still be at risk of losing the all-important social connections that book clubs maintain. Graduating or changing schools, moving to a new city, going through a break-up or divorce, losing a relative, or taking a new job can all cause you to drop regular contact with your friends and family. It's in those moments when you need your network the most, and losing them can deal a big blow to your health, even if you aren't of retirement age.
Look, sometimes you lose your social network no matter what you do. Big life events will do that for you, unfortunately. But that's what makes this new research so great: you can join a book club wherever you go . You can even start one yourself, if you have to.
Whether you've moved to a new town or you just aren't friends with your friends anymore, you can still keep yourself healthy and engaged with others by joining a book club. So do it. It's good for you.
Image: Bustle/Caroline Wurtzel; Giphy