New studies shows there is more than just intangible benefits to keeping your best friends. There are myriad ways that friends affect your health for the better, including increasing old-age survival rates by 50 percent, decreasing rates of cancer death, and lowering the risk of heart disease; and you thought ladies-night was just for fun.
All this info begs the question: when was the last time you spent time with your own bosom-buddies? If you’re looking for a healthy excuse to hang out, here are some ideas that’s beneficial mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Stay Young, Go Dancing
When it came to exercise, we can benefit from a little friendly cajoling and, more importantly, make the exercise a social endeavor. Dancing can be a great way to bond and encourage friends to exercise. It proves to strengthen bones and muscles without being rough on your joints, give you muscle tone, improve posture, reduce stress, increase stamina and flexibility. These all reduce the chances of getting hurt if you decide to do more intense exercise as well as benefiting your general fitness level, according to a new comprehensive study on sport psychology released this year by Science Daily news.
Some of the best clubs are located right here in London and you’re sure to get a workout at any one. Ministry of Sound has been here since the 1990s and packs in more than 5,000 every weekend. The DJ booth has housed some of the most famous figures from around the world; be sure to take a peek at their events calendar to find out what’s coming up. In the West End Cafe De Paris has some fabulous themed night such as burlesque nights while China White is fabulous for celebrity spotting and has been a favourite of the international Olympic athletes.
If you’re looking for something a little less sweaty, the Casino at the Empire has the perfect mix of dance floors, lounges, and events that will give you a work out and, if needed, a breather. Their Shadow Bar has an illuminated dance floor that transports you straight to Vegas.
Visit a Wine Bar
You probably already know that wine is good for you. Red wine contains antioxidants preventing plaque formation and blood clots, and resveratrol may be good for your cholesterol levels. Consumed in moderation, wine can lower chances of heart attack by 30 to 50 percent.
Those aren’t the only benefits of this sort of low-key ladies-night. The report, 5 Ways Your Friends Are Good For Your Health: 2011, shows females release the hormone oxytocin when they’re stressed. Instead of triggering the “fight or flight” reaction that men have, women’s reactions are generally “tend and befriend.” In other words, they want to talk which “spurs the release of more oxytocin, which can have a calming effect.”
London has some of the world’s best wine bars, and generally great places to de-stress with your best friend or a group.
Food & Wine calls Terriors “one of the best for food and wine pairings.” And speaking of health, its 42-page wine list is fraught with “such ultra-natural offerings as Sicilian amphora-aged Frappato from Cos or a range of Jean Foillard’s funky, cloudy Morgons.”
Gordon’s Wine Bar (located off of the Embankment) is another spot to be tried, according to Guardian news, with patio seating in the courtyard during the summer or the intimate, “labyrinthine” interior. It’s low lights and cozy furniture (not to mention the great wine) will definitely make you “tend and befriend.”
Take A Spa Break
Friends lower the risk of heart disease by half, possibly because of their ability to help you relax. Stronger social ties lower your blood pressure, which, in turn, puts the break on heart disease. So why not double up on the benefits and spend your ladies-day at the spa? Going on a spa break helps you keep that blood pressure low and blow off steam, according to The Huffington Post.
Or just a spa lunch-break: you don’t have to go on a holiday to get your massage and facial on. Several of London’s five-star hotels have added spas open to the public. You can visit the Away Spa at the W Hotel, one of Four Seasons’ nine treatment rooms, Aman Spa at The Connaught, the opulent Dorchester spa, or the Espa Life Spa at the Corinthia, just to name a few. It may not be quite as relaxing as a beach in Portugal, but you can at least save yourself the train fare.