Every January, optimistic exercisers flock to the gym to make good on their New Year’s resolutions. Some might try Zumba for the first time, or take up boxing to shave off winter weight. But a new study has shown that one exercise trend (and we mean trend with a capital New York Times “T”) might actually be worth the hype. Obnoxious couple’s classes and duo-based workouts be damned, new research shows that twosomes who work out together are more likely to achieve their fitness goals than those who try to get healthy alone.
Sarah Jackson, a psychologist from the University College London, said that as people push to quit smoking and become more active, “doing it with your partner increases your chances of success.” Jackson is the lead author of a new study that looks at how partners in relationships influence each other’s healthy behaviors. Previous studies have shown that couples can share bad habits, such as abusing alcohol or gorging on a greasy order of fries, but this is one of the first studies to find the beneficial effects spouses have their partner’s fitness.
The study looked at more than 3,700 cohabiting and married couples, all over the age of 50. The participants had been given questionnaires every four years since 2002 as a part of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which looks at health and quality of life among older people in the U.K. The team found that men and women shed more weight, get more active, and are more successful at quitting smoking when their partners are pursuing the same fitness goals. The team published their results published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.