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If you want to make the most of your “golden years,” it’s important to be as healthy and active as possible, according to the vast majority (86 percent) of people responding to a recent survey. Most respondents (79 percent) said they want to live each day to the fullest. And, for many, social activity plays a big role in reaching these goals.

The poll, conducted in partnership with Life Time and OnePoll, interviewed a nationwide sample of 2,000 adults aged 55 and older to better understand their social lives, relationships, and how they prefer to spend their time.

Nearly eight in 10 respondents (77 percent) admitted that their social circle has shrunk as they’ve grown older, while 70 percent stated an interest in making new friends and 83 percent noted that it’s never too late in life to create fulfilling relationships. More than half (55 percent) of those polled said it’s important to find someone with similar interests and with whom they can have a great conversation (50 percent). Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said they’re also seeking someone who has had similar life experiences and who wants to remain active together (40 percent) as part of a rewarding friendship.

But creating new connections can be intimidating. More than half of the respondents said they wish they could spend time among a nearby community of people their age, and more than 60 percent said they would be willing to try a new activity if they had someone to do it with them.

A more social, active life may be waiting for them in a community where older adults are able to meet like-minded people and sample a variety of activities until they find what they enjoy most. In fact, 53 percent of respondents said they have made new friends at their health club, while 55 percent said they became more active after joining their club.

“It may seem intimidating to try something new, like pickleball, yoga, or dance classes,” says Renée Main, senior vice president of healthy aging at Life Time. “But actually, it’s a great way to make new friends — while improving your health and overall well-being — especially when you’re supported by a coach who’s been trained to assist older adults.”

Other insights from the survey include:

  • More than two out of three older adults noted that they would rather play with their grandchildren than simply watch them play.
  • 73 percent agreed they are happier when active.
  • 63 percent admitted that they’ve put off certain healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating well, and drinking enough water.
  • 65 percent recognized that their health has significantly affected the activities and lifestyle they enjoy; but there’s still hope, according to the 83 percent who said it’s never too late to get healthy.
  • 74 percent said they plan to invest more time in their health to help them live a more fulfilling life.

“Whether you’re 9 years old or 90, people tend to be happier and healthier when they regularly participate in activities with friends,” says Main. “If you want to experience a long and joyful life, then get out there, make new friends, and have fun trying new things together.”

Discover ARORA” at Life Time for tips to help you be active, healthy, and social all the days of your life. And for more healthy-living inspiration, visit Healthy Aging on Experience Life.

Emily Ewen

Emily Ewen is a senior writer and content editor at Life Time.

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