Whether you prefer a small, intimate gathering or are a fan of large crowds, most of us enjoy spending time with other people. We all know socializing is fun, but what many people don’t realize is that spending time with others also plays a role in your overall health.

Having a good social network has been shown to have a positive impact on you both physically and mentally. In fact, many feel it is key to a long and healthy life.

This is something to consider next time you engage in interactive fitness as many of the games promote and demand social engagement. Here are a few reasons why spending time socializing is good for the body and soul.

Fight Depression

When you are feeling low, the last thing you want to do is go hang out with other people. That’s too bad because research shows that connecting with others improves your mood and fights off depression. It works best when you interact face-to-face as opposed to emails, texts or even phone calls.

Better Sleep

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, it could be because you are lonely and not getting enough human interaction. Research has found that people who are socially isolated experience more nighttime disruptions and restlessness. This happens even if they don’t feel like they are alone. Those who have more fulfilling connections with other people sleep better, plain and simple.

Increased Productivity

A study done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that workers were more productive and happier when they went to lunch together and had breaks at the same time.

Fight Off Colds

People who are highly social are less likely to catch a cold. Research has found that extroverts have the highest level of immune functionality.

Reduced Risk of Stroke

Research shows that spending time with your friends lowers your blood pressure and reduces inflammation in your body, which, in turn, can decrease the probability of a stroke and other brain damage.

Encourages Good Habits

If the people you hang out with have good habits, you are likely to follow suit and do the same.

Sharp Brain

According to studies, socializing delays memory loss as we age. Strong social ties help preserve our brain health as it keeps us mentally engaged.

Live Longer

If you want to live a long and healthy life, surround yourself with plenty of like-minded people. People who have social relationships live up to 50 percent longer than those who are socially isolated.

Even if you haven’t led a very social life up to this point, it is not too late to reap the benefits of being socially active. There are several ways in which you can meet new people including joining interest groups, engaging in community activities or get back in touch with friends you have lost touch with over the years.You can also engage in interactive fitness as you are sure to meet new and exciting people.