Men’s health maintained by seeing buddies twice a week, study claims

Good news, guys! You now have an excuse to go out drinking with your buddies twice a week.

An informal study commissioned by beer company Guinness claims that men have improved physical health when they get enough social time with their four closest male friends.

Specifically, men who have a boys' night twice a week recuperate from sickness more quickly, tend to be more kind and are better able to ward off depression caused by money worries, job insecurity and long work hours.

Also see: Tips for pairing beer with food

"Bonds can be formed through a range of activities from team sports to male banter - or simply having a pint with your pals on a Friday night," lead researcher Robin Dunbar of Oxford University tells the Daily Mail. "However, the key to maintaining strong friendships is to meet up twice a week and do stuff with the four people closest to you."

The study only involved five men, two of which saw their buddies twice a week.

All of men reportedly spent one-fifth of their day interacting with approximately 150 acquaintances primarily through social media, text, and phone conversations. However, Dunbar claims those social interactions do not offer the same health benefits as meeting their four closest pals in person.

While the findings of this Guinness-sponsored study may be interesting, they should be taken with a health dose of skepticism. Not only does Guinness have a vested interest in getting people to drink more, but the study only analyzed the drinking habits of a measly five men, hardly enough to warrant scientific rigour.

Also see: Friends may be good for your diet and exercise

Nevertheless, past studies with considerably better research methodologies point to the overall health benefits of friendships.

A study from 2005 which looked at 1,500 Australian seniors found that men and women with the greatest number of close friends were found to outlive their counterparts by 22 per cent.

Close friends are also believed to improve an individual’s sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness, reduce stress and improve self-worth.

What are your thoughts on the connection between social interaction and personal health? Have your noticed a link in your life?