We’ve never really needed an excuse to hang out with our besties but now studies show there is more than just feeling good when we’re with our best friends. There are a myriad of ways that friends affect your health for the better, including increasing old-age survival rates by 50 percent, decreasing death rates from cancer, 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 quality time with your own bosom-buddies? If you’re looking for a healthy excuse to hang out, here are some ideas that are beneficial mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Stay Young, Go Dancing
When it comes to exercise, we can benefit from a little friendly cajoling and making exercise a social endeavour. Dancing can be a great way to bond and encourage friends to exercise. It’s proven 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 improving your general fitness level.
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 private members club, the Arts Club in Dover St has fantastic live music and is great for rubbing shoulders with celebrities and the well heeled.
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.
The Good Year has launched as a month long pop-up bar at the Attendant Café on Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch. By night, from Thursday to Saturday, The Good Year will offer a unique opportunity for wine lovers to feed their curiosity and discover new pours. The pop up will have a frequently-changing menu of wines by the glass, simply explained with descriptive yet informal notes to how the wines actually taste.
Meanwhile Pennethorne’s Cafe Bar at Somerset House has wines from the UK, France, Italy and worldwide as well as a revitalised cocktail selection just in time for the summer months. It provides a great place to hang out, relax, unwind and enjoy simple, quality food and delicious drinks surrounded by stylish Victorian-chic interiors and grand Somerset House windows and terraces to watch London pass by.
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 that are open to non-residential guests. 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 Antigua, but you can at least save yourself the plane fare.