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Relax, for your health’s sake

Think twice before you pass on that get-together with friends. A recent study published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine shows that the more time you spend doing different types of enjoyable activities, the better your health tends to be. Fourteen hundred people reported how often they participated in leisure activities including visiting friends or family, going on vacation, going to clubs or religious activities or playing sports. Those who spent the most time doing leisure activities had lower blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and measurements of the stress hormone cortisol. More benefits of downtime: lower levels of depression, better sleep and more consistent exercise. To reap the rewards, call a friend and take a walk, see a movie or go out for dinner.