The Importance of Staying Connected

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Did you know loneliness is often compared to health risks like smoking? That’s right – feeling lonely can seriously affect our health. 

A lot of people feel lonely on any given day. In fact, 1 in 10 seniors report feeling lonely. Staying connected is crucial for our well-being, especially as we age. Loneliness can impact stress levels and contribute to depression & heart issues. 

In our busy lives, making and maintaining friendships outside of work and family can be challenging. That’s where the concept of “third spaces” comes in. “Third spaces” are places beyond home & work where people interact casually and mingle freely. This could be a community center, a library, or even a local café. 

There are places known as “blue zones” all around the world. These places are known for how long their residents live, and these third spaces play a vital role. In Sardinia, Italy, it’s “Wine at 5,” where neighbors gather for a shared glass, creating a sense of connection regardless of the day’s challenges. In Okinawa, Japan, “moais” are lifelong support systems, formed in childhood and continuing into old age, offering friendship and mutual support.

In the past 4 years especially, it has been tough for people with weaker immune systems or trouble getting around to connect with others. Going to regular places might be risky, so third spaces and online communities become really important. 

Now, more than ever, online communities are essential for fostering connections. These places offer a safe way for people to socialize, find support, and feel connected. This ensures they don’t miss out on the joy of community, even from the comfort of their own homes.

Whether it’s joining a virtual exercise group, book club, or engaging in shared hobbies, the options are limitless! It might take some courage and experimentation, but it’s well worth it. Lucky for you, we here at AFF have already created some third spaces and online communities that we would love for you to be a part of (if you’re not already).

One great place to connect is our Facebook group. In this group, we talk about fitness, health, wellness, nutrition, and other topics of interest that help us stay alive, fit & free. We’d love for you to post your daily or weekly workout updates so we can encourage and support you! We also love hearing updates about any recent adventures you went on that you really enjoyed. It is all about connection and support! 

Embracing these communal spaces can be the first step to expanding your social network and enhancing your overall well-being. The beauty of a third space lies in its diversity, offering so many ways to find that timeless spark of belonging that makes us feel truly human.

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