4 Health Benefits of Socializing with ‘Strangers’

4 Health Benefits of Socializing with ‘Strangers’

I have got to be honest with you. I’m a bit of an introvert. I like small intimate settings with close friends, conversation and a nice meal. It’s not very often that you’ll find me hamming it up on the dancefloor or introducing myself to ladies that I don’t know. But you know what? You can teach an old dog new tricks!

 

Last month Serena and I had the privilege of meeting some of the amazing women of Catherine Grace O’Connell’s “Forever Fierce” movement at FierceCon in Redondo Beach, California. The panel of speakers was top notch; to hear other women share their stories of reinvention and creative inspiration was truly inspiring. Not only did I get out of my comfort zone but I connected with fellow entrepreneurs and made new friends!

Wendy Packer of Fashion Over 50 & Patricia Rubel of The Patrish Pages 

Serena and I with Tamara Batsell of TB Style Works from Dallas, Texas

We forget how important the simple act of connection is.

Serena and I maximized our time together and had a jam-packed schedule after the conference. We had meeting after meeting after photoshoot. Every day there was a new face and new experience. You may think that by the end of my week-long trip I was ready for a vacation, but honestly, I came home renewed. Having all of these new experiences and meeting so many new friends made me wonder: What are the other health benefits of talking to strangers?

We forget that new friends come in all ages and ethnicities.

Photographer Juhn Kwon and model/muse Ania Spiering

We forget that common language is always art and beauty.

Luckily for me, my friends at Kuel Life Magazine wondered the same thing. Here are 4 health benefits that might convince you to step out of your comfort zone and maybe say hello to someone you don’t know!

This post is in collaboration with Kuel Life Magazine. Check out Kuel Life and their inspiring magazine here

  • When you interact with people you don’t know who aren’t like you, you get the chance to break out of your comfort zone and change your view of reality altogether. This can spark creative ideas, give you new ideas to think about, and plenty more.” We don’t know what we don’t know; interacting with individuals who don’t share years of common experiences or maybe our can be eye-opening, educational, and expansive.
  • Comfort can decrease your productivity – without a little bit of unease and unpredictability we can get lazy, turn our minds to autopilot, and ‘phone it in.’ Spending time with individuals that you don’t know very well keeps your mind alert and active.
  • Being nice to others is good for you. You can’t be cranky with people you don’t know very well so of course, you’re going to put your best self forward in a social setting. Studies in The Journal of Social Psychology and the Journal of Happiness Studies suggest that giving to others makes us happy, even happier than spending on ourselves. What’s more, our kindness might create a virtuous cycle that promotes lasting happiness and altruism.
  • “You can meet fascinating, cool people that quickly turn into ‘non-strangers.’ For me, this one hits particularly close to home. I have a long line of lifetime friends that started as, not only strangers but people I didn’t like too well or didn’t like me. I know this about myself; one of the many benefits of aging is deciding to do things differently.”
Why You Should Plank, Every Day

Why You Should Plank, Every Day

The one minute plank will make you stronger in every part of your body.
Don’t worry too much about how you start it or how long you can keep it. Just do it!
If you can’t do a full plank start on your forearms and knees, hold it as long as you can and try to add a bit at a time.
You will be shocked how soon you start getting stronger.

We’ve teamed up with the Cool Editors of the online magazine Kuel Life to give us the 411 on this fitness phenome.

Why You Should Plank, Every Day

We keep hearing about the importance of weight bearing exercises, in particular, as we age. The popularity of bodyweight exercises is rapidly gaining. Why, you might wonder? There is practicality and ease in using what you already own and carry around with you, YOU!

Maintaining a strong and healthy core is essential. These series of muscles are located in your midsection, and are used almost every time you MOVE. Core muscles aid the transfer of force from one limb to another. They provide assistance to the muscles in your legs and arms. In effect, having a solid strong core yields big improvements in your ability to move and keep moving.

Not to take a backseat in importance, your abdominal muscles (part of your core) support your back and spinal column. Taking time to strengthen this set of muscles advances  overall back health. I don’t know about all of you Kuel Women out there, but I personally know several people of a ‘certain age’ that struggle with chronic back pain.

Enter Planks! Planks are one of the most effective exercises out there. First, they don’t take much time. Ever try to plank for ten or twenty minutes? Second, they don’t take much room. All you need is a bit of floor space.

Even if you start at 15 seconds a pop, who cares? If you manage three times over the course of the day; you’ve planked for 45 seconds. Every few days you can add five or ten seconds; ideally getting to a minute. Let me re-iterate…WHO CARES how long this may take. What’s critical here is that you are doing SOMETHING to improve the stability of your body and your overall health.

What should you expect if you start planking everyday.

Improve core definition and performance. 

Planks engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

  • increased ability to lift heavier weights – this may mean less straining in carrying heavy grocery bags or picking up your grandchild
  • improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
  • a supported back and a strong, shapely butt.

Reduce back pain. 

When done properly, planking requires minimal movement and contracts all the layers of the abdominal fascia – thereby strengthening your core. A stronger core yields a healthier, pain-free back.

Improve your posture.

Good posture allows muscles to work more efficiently.  You can prevent muscle fatigue and strain when your back and spine are in alignment. Issues related to overuse or back pain can be reduced. And, let’s face it you look BETTER and more confident when you stand up straight.

Increase your balance.

Strong abdominal muscles are needed to gracefully stand on one leg for an extended period of time. While it may seem silly; why do you need to stand on one leg? Don’t most of us have two? It’s not the actual act of standing on one leg that is important; that’s just the test of our balance. Balance is important for walking and going up and down the stairs. Activities we ‘take for granted’. Maintaining good balance as we age helps keep us vertical. Falling is a bad idea.

Increase your flexibility.

Flexibility is required to easily perform everyday activities. Activities such as; getting out of bed, lifting grocery bags, and reaching down to pick something up off the floor all require a degree of flexibility. Sadly, most of us lose flexibility as we age. I know personally the days of splits are behind me. Planking expands and stretches your shoulders, shoulder blades, hamstrings, toes and arches of your feet, helping maintain added flexibility.

Sold on PLANKING EVERYDAY?

How do you do it?

 

  • Get into pushup position on the floor.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
  • Keep your body straight and rigid. Don’t stick your butt in the air or drop it down toward the floor.
  • Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
  • Hold the position for as long as you can.

 

Are you planking yet? We would love to how your progress is going!

Sonia