Find friends by getting together for activities

You might like the idea of lone-wolf runs and soulful solitary walks, but research shows, people who play in groups are healthier, happier, and live longer.

Other people motivate you

You can train for a marathon, from scratch, in just 24-weeks. Assuming you get up off the couch and do a bit of running.

The first few, early morning scampers round the park are easy. But remember, most marathons take place in summer, which involves training in winter.

Yes, that means getting up when it's cold and dark outside, and actually moving more muscles than it takes to lift a cup of tea, and brush your teeth.

If you're running alone, nine-times-out-of-ten you'll press 'snooze' and snuggle back down. Train in a group with other marathon wannabes and you're a lot more likely to get up, get out, and do that thing.

Because it turns out other people are even more motivating than Birdcage Walk, a space blanket, and a bright, shiny medal.

The more friends you have, the healthier you are

An analysis of 148 studies carried out between 1988 and 2010, came to the conclusion that the more friends people have, the longer they live. Sounds like made-up science? Read the whole long and detailed PLOS Medicine report for yourself.

Alternatively, just marvel at the astonishing idea that widening your social circle could have as many health benefits as giving up smoking. Take a minute to download the Pal app, create a profile, and start making friends for the sake of your health.

Group activities make you happier

Apart from getting you out of bed to train for a marathon in the middle of winter, and possibly even increasing your life expectancy, doing stuff together with other people can actually make you happier.

When Oxford University carried out tests on 16 rowers after a training session, they found that those who trained together were more able to withstand pain (don't worry, they only inflated a blood pressure cuff until it pinched a bit), than those who trained alone.

The reason? Group activity releases endorphins into the bloodstream and increases your pain threshold. And it just so happens, as well as giving you super-human powers of endurance, endorphins are also the human happy hormones.

What more proof do you need to convince you that group activities increase your health and happiness? Don't forget, they give you a good chance of making more friends, and it seems to be the best possible route to a long life.