You’ll probably end up eating more of that midnight snack if you have a partner in crime, but fortunately for us the same can be said about getting healthy. Physical fitness goals like getting regular exercise, eating healthier or quitting smoking are easier to attain when couples go into it together.
The BBC reports about a study published in Jama Internal Medicine that looks at 3,700 couples and the ways in which they make healthy lifestyle changes over a period of four years. What researchers found was that both men and women who took part in the same fitness resolution were three times more likely to accomplish their set goals. Researchers have coined this teamwork success method as the “rubbing off” effect.
Researchers also found that partners did not always need to make a conscious pact with one another about getting healthy. Just seeing their partner change their unhealthy ways was enough to encourage the other partner to get on the healthier bandwagon.
Partners who were already living with someone healthier than them were also more likely to make positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle. For example, a smoker who lives with a non-smoker is twice as likely to quit. But making a healthy change together still wins out over anything else. If both partners smoke and one decides to quit the other one is a whopping ten times more likely to quit.
Cancer Research UK's head of health information Dr. Julie Sharp explains that the study’s findings show how important our personal relationships can be for our health. She also points out that making healthy lifestyle changes with the support of someone else doesn’t necessarily have to just be for married couples. She says, “For example, if you want to lose weight and have a friend or colleague who's trying to do the same thing, you could encourage each other by joining up for a run or a swim at lunchtime or after work.” She adds, “And local support such as stop smoking services are very effective at helping people to quit. Keeping healthy by not smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight and being active can all lower the risk of cancer, and the more people can help and encourage each other, the better.”
What do you think of the study that suggests couples are more apt to accomplish healthy lifestyle goals when they take part in resolutions together?
Are you and your partner getting healthier together this year?