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Getting in shape? Take your partner


Getting in shape? Just convince your partner to also.

New research from University College London found that it’s much easier to make healthy changes, such as getting fit, when your partner is making the same changes in their life. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study looked at 3,722 couples, married together or living together for an extended period, who were over 50 and trying to make healthy changes. The researchers looked at couples who were trying to lose weight, start being active or quit smoking. In all three categories partners were much more successful when they were both looking at the same goal.

Both men and women were over 65 per cent more likely to start being active when their partner was doing the same, the highest success rate of the three areas studied.

“Getting some support can help people take up good habits,” said Dr. Julie Sharp, head of health information for Cancer Research UK. “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. And local support such as stop smoking services are very effective at helping people to quit.”

Still, the couples were most successful when both were starting to make changes. Though those with partners who were already physically active did have more success than those without who were not trying to get in shape, they were not as successful as those making changes alongside their partner.

Similar results were found in those quitting smoking.