Would you consider yourself a healthy individual if you smoked 15 cigarettes every single day? Probably not, though you might not think twice about staying in your own home all day, canceling plans in favor of "protecting your peace," and forgoing social gatherings altogether, especially post-COVID and if you work remotely.
None of these stay-at-home activities is inherently bad, but a new study from the National Institute on Aging found that prolonged social isolation — or going long periods of time without having meaningful, regular contact with others, which has become increasingly prevalent in a post-COVID world — can not only shorten your life span by up to 15 years, but the health risks associated with it can even be as drastic as smoking 15 cigarettes daily.
The same study also concluded that loneliness and social isolation can make you more susceptible to emergency room trips, and the Health Resources and Services Administration stated that this isolation leads to less exercise, poor sleep, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and mental disorders, and even premature death.
Now, would you still consider yourself healthy?
How to Avoid Social Isolation and Loneliness
So you're sick of feeling lonely (and trashing your health in the process), but where do you start when it comes to reversing the harmful effects of prolonged isolation? Second and third only to "Being involved in the community," a 2021 AARP study found that the "being outdoors" and "physical activity" were two of the highest scoring activities in a poll that asked adults, "What are your sources of joy?"
Luckily, the Spartan community — a 10 million-strong group of determined, welcoming, diverse, and unbreakable individuals who bond around the globe every day over a shared love of overcoming life's seemingly impossible challenges — offers all three.
Related: How to Find Your Spartan Tribe Online
Whether you want a date on the calendar that forces you to do the work, a group of like-minded friends that help you forge connections and push you to be better every single day, or a new passion to pursue (from obstacle course racing to functional fitness, mountain biking, trail running, extreme endurance, long-distance adventure hiking, and more), we've got you covered.