He Really IS Listening…

Tired of the cold? Tired of brown snow? Good, because spring is one short week away. So, what’s your plan for sticking with that exercise plan you resolved to start on New Years? Here’s a hint: partner up!

Behind the Man

We all know that the biggest readers of the men’s health manual are…partners. Coupled men live longer, get cancer diagnosed earlier and exhibit far less risky behavior than their single counterparts. Now, there’s some hard data that shaping up is more likely to happen if you work with your better half.

Coupling Behaviors

A great new study was just published in which 3722 couples were followed for years in England. Along the way, they were regularly interviewed about their health behaviors, particularly losing weight, smoking and sticking to an exercise plan. Here’s the meat of what they found:

  • Having a spouse who lost weight increased your odds of losing weight by 3-fold.
  • Having a physically active spouse increased your odds of exercising by 5-fold.
  • Having a spouse who quit smoking increased your odds of quitting by 11-fold.
  • When habits differed between spouses, the spouse with the healthier habits dominated the couple’s health behavior.

I like this study because it was large, forward looking (prospective), well analyzed and is representative of the general population. That mean’s that it probably represents a real truth, and truths are pretty hard to come by in science. As to why couples tend to act healthier together is utter guesswork but maybe it has something to do with humanity and commitment and love and all that stuff. Either way, I’m in. There was another interesting study finding that I neglected to mention earlier, but chortled when I read it: the beneficial health effects of men on women were equal to those of women on men. Ah hah! Scientific proof that men really are a key to women’s health!