So much in life is easier with someone you love by your side. Such is the case with getting healthy, British researchers say. Results of a study conducted by scientists at University College London and funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute on Aging, show that people are significantly more successful in adopting healthy habits if their spouses or significant others also make positive health and lifestyle changes – three times more likely than those who go solo, in fact.
Published in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine research looked at 3,722 couples over the age of 50 and examined the likelihood of participants to quit smoking, lose weight or become more active in relation to their partner’s choices. Among the results:
- Half of the women who smoked managed to kick the habit if their partner also gave up smoking at the same time, compared with just 17 percent of women whose partners already were non-smokers, and a paltry eight percent of women whose partners were regular smokers and refused to stop.
- Partners who were regularly active together were almost three times as likely to succeed in efforts to get more exercise.
- And overweight partners who lost weight along with their significant others enjoyed three times higher weight loss odds.
“Making lifestyle changes can make a big difference to our health and cancer risk,” said Dr. Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information. “And this study shows that when couples make those changes together they are more likely to succeed.”
So how do you get your spouse on a shared healthy track? Peruse food-centric websites together to find healthy new recipes that appeal to both your tastes. If working out at the gym seems a bore, suggest walks together along the beach, at a local public park or downtown – anyplace that offers interesting sights. Or, opt for some friendly competition by taking turns challenging each other to a new sport or other fun activity.
How do you and your love stay healthy together? Post your tips and stories on the Project SOS Facebook fan page and to help keep your relationship healthy, consider signing up for our Why Knot relationship skills workshops. For more information on maintaining healthy relationships call 904-296-9950.