Want Your Partner to Get More Exercise? Set an Example, Study Suggests

A new study shows that, when one partner in a relationship begins a regular exercise routine, there’s a good chance the other partner will follow.

The study, which was led by Laura Cobb of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, involved an analysis of data from more than 3,000 American couples. The couples met with researchers who recorded physical activity levels on two occasions separated by six years.

During the first meeting, researchers found that 45 per cent of husbands and 33 per cent of wives were getting the amount of weekly exercise — 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of intense activity — recommended by the American Heart Association.

The study showed that the husbands of wives who did the recommended amount of exercise at the time of the initial meeting were 70 percent more likely to meet those same levels six years later. Meanwhile, the wives of husbands who were physically active were 40 percent more likely to meet those levels the second time they met with researchers.

Cobb suggests that using the couple dynamic could help health experts find a way to attack America’s growing obesity epidemic. “There’s an epidemic of people in this country who don’t get enough exercise, and we should harness the power of the couple to ensure people are getting a healthy amount of physical activity,” Cobb said.

“We all know how important exercise is to staying healthy. This study tells us that one spouse could have a really positive impact on the other when it comes to staying fit and healthy for the long haul.”


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