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physical health

Whether it's your best friend, a close family member or your favourite hairdresser, there's nothing like a good chat to lift your spirits and as it turns out, those bonds could have a huge effect on our mental and physical health.

According to The Irish Independent, a number of studies carried out over the past 40 years have indicated that good social relationships may contribute to a reduction in abdominal obesity, better lung function and even a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Some researchers even claim that our relationships could be more important than diet and exercise when it comes to overall health and wellbeing.

A 2010 study carried out at Brigham Young University found that having a good network of friends and family members could improve a person's odds of survival by up to 50 per cent.

Participants were asked a number of questions about their social lives, including the quality of relationships with friends, family, partners and colleagues.

Based on their answers, the women were then divided into three groups – 'socially isolated', 'moderately integrated' and 'socially integrated'.

20 years later, researchers checked in with the participants and found that the 'socially integrated' women were significantly less likely to have passed away from their battle with breast cancer than those who were deemed 'socially isolated'.

The risk of reoccurrence was also greatly reduced in women who said they has a quality network of friends. 

Head researcher, Candyce H Kroenke, said: "It is well established that women who have more social ties generally, including those with breast cancer, have a lower risk of death overall."

"Our findings demonstrate the beneficial influence of women's social ties on breast cancer, including recurrence and breast cancer death."

What's more, an earlier study carried out by the same team, found that laughing and enjoying quality time with friends could help patients deal with some of the physical symptoms of cancer.  

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We've always suspected it, but now scientists have confirmed that dog owners are more likely to have better cardiovascular health.

The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings and involved 1,769 people between 25 to 64-years-old, living in Brno in the Czech Republic.

Each participant had to provide information on their BMI, diet, physical activity levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, if they smoked or not and their fasting blood sugar levels.

42 percent of the candidates owned a pet of some sort, with 24 percent of people owning a dog and 17.9 percent owning another animal.

The American Heart Association heart score system test was used, looking at seven changeable risk factors of heart health.

Dog owners were more likely to exercise, have an ideal diet and blood glucose level than those who didn't, but they were more likely to smoke for some reason. They still scored better overall for cardiovascular health, however.

The study authors cautioned: "The higher smoking rates among dog ownership attenuates the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health."

Existing evidence links dog ownership to better mental and physical health, so it makes total sense.

Study co-author Andrea Maugeri commented in a statement: "In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level.

"The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."

Research claims that getting a pooch could be a useful way to boost heart health, and an important way to tackle the prevalence of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US alone, causing one-in-four deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Senior investigator Francisco Lopez-Jimenez stated that owning dogs has previously been linked to better mental health and feeling less lonely, both of which are assumed to decrease the risk of heart attacks.

One study published last year in the journal BMC Psychiatry, which examined 17 existing papers concluded having a pet could help the symptoms of mental illness.

Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, told Newsweek: "Whether you're a pet-owner or not, physical activity can benefit your heart in lots of different ways.

"Just spending 10 minutes a day walking around the block is good for your heart health."

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So, if you've ever been cheated on you'll know all to well the toll it can take on your general wellbeing. 

Sad, lonely, hurt and confused, you'll ask yourself if it was something you did?

Of course the answers is no, and according to a new study, even asking yourself this question could be effecting you physically as well as mentally.

Researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno, surveyed 232 third-level students who had been cheated in the last three months, with the aim of finding out how their behaviours and mental health had been affected by their partners infidelity.

Speaking to PsyPost, M. Rosie Shrout, lead author of the study, explained, “We wanted to know if this emotional and psychological distress leads them to engage in risky health behaviours, such as unprotected sex, drug use, alcohol use, binge eating, or not eating at all.”

She added, “We were also interested in whether perceptions of blame played a role in their psychological distress and risky health behaviours.”

Results found that having an unfaithful partner can significantly affect your behaviour, your view of cheating and above all, your ability to trust.

Researchers also found that those who are worse effected are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs, or develop eating disorders.

“Being cheated on seems to not only have mental health consequences, but also increases risky behaviours,” Shrout said.

“We also found that people who blamed themselves for their partner cheating, such as feeling like it was their fault or they could have stopped it, were more likely to engage in risky behaviours.”

It seems that damaged self-esteem may lower ones inhibitions toward risky behaviours, which may ultimately lead to poor physical and mental health.

However, it's important to note that the average age of participants was 20-years-old, meaning the results may be different for older age groups.  

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The celebration of the 'curve' has saturated popular culture in recent years, with the likes of the Kardashian sisters, Nicki Minaj, Amber Rose, Beyoncé and Blac Chyna supposedly flying the flag for curvacious women everywhere.

And while rocking a pear-shaped figure might place you in A-list company, it also reportedly does wonders for your physical health.

 

Happy Birthday @steph_shep I love this pic of us!

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

According to recent research, women who carry fat in their hips, thighs and bum are at a lower risk of developing a number of different diseases, including heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

For years, we've known that carrying weight around your middle can contribute to ill health as it impacts the internal organs, but research has now confirmed that storing weight in your lower half helps to draw fat away from those organs.

So, what's the difference between fat around the midriff and fat around the hips and thighs?

Well, the former is known as visceral fat and releases harmful chemicals which, as already stated, can effect the main organs of the body, while the latter is known as subcutaneous fat which doesn't have the same effect and actually indirectly protects the heart.

The findings, which were conducted by researchers at the University of Tubingen, has been published in the journal of Cell Metabolism.
 

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A couple of years back, various reports suggested that sitting for eight hours a day was the WORST thing any of us could do to our bodies.

Eight hours at your desk, plus extra time sitting in the bus/car and in front of the TV at night… basically we were all said to be sitting ourselves into an early grave.

The solution? Get a standing desk – something which thankfully hasn't caught on much in Ireland but it definitely a regular sighting in offices across the US.

Now though, new research says sitting might not be as bad as we had all though, or at least it's no better or worse for us than standing.

Rather than trying to work more standing time into your day, scientists in the UK say we should simply aim to get moving whenever we can.

So break up your work day with a stroll at lunch, walk home instead of catching the bus, and keep up regular work-out sessions. 

The Institute of Epidemiology in London collected data from 5,100 government workers over a period of 16 years to research their sitting habits.

Each participant charted how much time they spent sitting at work and in their free time, as well as how often they walked or had an exercise session.

Sitting was not linked to mortality in any of the participants, though the research does note that many of the people studied exercised more than the average British person would.

It's thought previous reports about sitting having a high mortality risk might have been linked to the fact that participants led an extremely sedentary lifestyle.

The moral of the story? Don't freak out about having to sit at a desk all day long, but get moving during your out-of-office hours.

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