According to New Scientist magazine, being sociable is one of the best ways to add years to your life. And it doesn’t matter who you buddy up to – relationships with family, friends, neighbors and even PETS will all do the trick. But if you want the biggest longevity boost – get a spouse.

Studies show that a loving marriage can add as much as 7 years to a man’s life and 2 years to a woman’s. That’s because married people get fewer illnesses, have fewer accidents and take better care of themselves in general.

And even if the odds are stacked against you health wise, marriage can more than make up for it. Researchers from the University of Chicago found that a married older man who has heart disease can expect to live nearly 4 years longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart. And a married man who smokes more than a pack a day is likely to live as long as a divorced man who doesn’t light up.

Also, social contact can boost development of the brain and immune system.
This leads not only to good physical health, but it can help prevent depression later in life. And people in supportive relationships can handle stress better.

Bottom line? Having close ties to your family, friends and pets will help you live a longer life. But if you really want to make it to that 100 year mark, a trip down the aisle is just what the doctor ordered.