Grab the Girls & Go Out: It’s Healthy

Grab the Girls & Go Out: It’s Healthy

When’s the last time you went out with just your best girlfriends? If you’ve been putting that GNO on the back burner, you should move it front and center. Not just for the laughter and the wine, but be-cause it’s good for you.

In fact, a study revealed that a woman’s overall health and well-being improved when she spent time with her gal pals twice per week. Health perks from these girls nights included a stronger immune system, faster recovery times from illness, reduced anxiety and a boost in overall kindness.

'Women often aren’t great with self care; we tend to put the needs of others before our own,” said Barb DePree, MD, women’s health specialist and certified menopause practitioner at Holland Hospital and Lakeshore Health Partners. “Sharing time with friends and other women is nourishing to our souls. It’s one of the more important things we can do for ourselves.”

Even if your schedule is jam packed (what woman’s isn’t?), carving out a mere few hours with your girl-friends can produce an anti-depressant-like effect. When we’re around and buoyed by friends, it actually releases the mood-elevating hormone known as oxytocin. Along with a variety of emotional and physical benefits, research has also shown that a rich social life nurtures an overall longer life span.

According to the Mayo Clinic, cultivating friendships:

  • Combats loneliness
  • Lowers stress
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Increases sense of belonging and purpose
  • Provides much-needed support for coping with serious illness, divorce, job loss, and other life chal-lenges and traumas

So now that you’ve read some key reasons for hanging with your besties, here are some activities to consider:

  • Yoga: Grab your mats, and meet up at your place or a studio for a little om and stress relief.
  • Dance: Bust out some moves at a club or hit the gym for Zumba.
  • Be crafty: Whether painting or making jewelry, crafting provides an outlet for mental stimulation, creativity and fun.
  • Get cooking: Make dinner, or host an outdoor picnic, brunch or barbecue. “Healthy nutrition is critical to lifelong wellness,” said Lynsey Hargrove, registered dietitian and nutritionist, Holland Hospital Healthy Life Programs. “If you haven’t seen your friends in a while, treat them and yourself to a delicious, home-cooked meal. You make the entree and ask everyone else to provide side dishes. Be sure to bring your recipes to share, too.”
  • Book club: No matter the genre, books open doors to new worlds and experiences, and build a sense of community.

Remember, building and maintaining social relationships takes work, time and commitment but the benefits are well worth the effort.

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  • Barb DePree, MD

    Barb DePree, MD

    Recipient of North American Menopause Society’s 2013 Certified Menopause Practitioner of the Year for her exceptional contributions to menopause care, Barb DePree, MD, specializes in menopausal medicine, hormone replacement therapy and sexual health. With nearly 25 years in women’s health, Dr. Barb has comfortably answered all the uncomfortable questions of sexual health and the changes that occur as we age.

    After completing her Master's in Medical Management, Dr. Barb launched her own website, MiddlesexMD.com, that connects with people across the country and provides additional advice and products for patients. Dr. DePree obtained her Clinical Cancer Genomics Community of Practice Certification through the City of Hope. In addition to being a provider at Lakeshore Health Partners Women's Health, Dr. DePree is also part of the Holland Hospital Comprehensive Breast Services team, seeing patients at the High Risk Breast Clinic. 

     

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