Why Book Clubs, Running Teams, and Living With Friends Are Good for Your Brain

Two friends embracing during backyard party on summer evening
Two friends embracing during backyard party on summer evening Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Doing things with friends is more than just a good time. Living with a group of people rather than solo might help with intellectual growth and memory, especially as you age, according to Ohio State University research.

“Getting along with a whole group is a challenge that requires the mind to adapt and quickly learn new information in order to survive,” says Elizabeth Kirby, a behavioral neuroscientist.

The animal study measured growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for remembering everyday details, like directions and where you left your wallet.

“Social interaction stimulates this area, so it makes sense the more people you socialize with, the greater the benefits,” Kirby says.

Not looking for roommates? Regular group activities, like boot camp, book clubs, and running teams, can have similar effects.