Geriatricians agree: The most dangerous thing you can do if you’re over 50 is not skydiving, crowd-surfing or embarking on a second-act career as a stunt performer. It’s not even eating red meat, or avoiding exercise.
The worst thing you can do when you’re over 50 is to socially isolate yourself.
Loneliness can obviously be emotionally, mentally and psychologically damaging, but it’s terrible for your physical health as well.
Dutch-Canadian gerontology researcher Eddy Elmer explains in William J. Kole’s The Big 100: The New World of Super-Aging that loneliness “causes a wear and tear on the body that becomes more pronounced over time.”
Indeed, Dr. Rosanne M. Leipzig, an expert in geriatrics, palliative care and internal medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the author of Honest Aging: An Insider’s Guide to the Second Half of Life, says that loneliness in older age can actually increase your risk of dying by a whopping 26 percent.