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Things that is easiest to do with a partner

Diet, sport, quitting smoking: all these are good intentions for the new year that are often given up miserably. But if you involve your partner, changing to healthier habits is easier.

This year’s good intentions include starting practicing sports, such as swimming or running? Involve even your partner in adopting this healthy behaviour and this idea will prove more successful . The same goes if you want to stop smoking or eat a healthier diet. Cultivating healthy habits is easier if you have a partner.

 

This statement that actually can seem quite obvious, is the result of a study conducted by researchers at University College London (UCL), recently published in Internal Medicine.

 

The study used data of 3722 married and cohabiting couples of more than 50 years participating in the English longitudinal study of ageing.

 

According to researchers, when both partners are involved in a health behaviour change – starting a diet, giving up smoking, practice physical activities – they are more likely to succeed in reaching their goals. Adopting a healthier habit with a partner, in other words, helps improve outcomes.

 

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Data revealed that, for example, 50 percent of smoking women quitted smoking because their partner did it, 17 percent gave up this bad habit even though their partners were already consistently healthy and only 8 percentof them quitted smoking while their partner didn’t.

 

Unhealthy lifestyles are a leading cause of death from chronic disease worldwide, said Jane Wardle, one of the study’s authors, professor of psychology and director of Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL.

 

“The key lifestyle risks are smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alcohol consumption. Swapping bad habits for good ones can reduce the risk of disease, including cancer.”

 

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And if you don’t have a partner with whom starting a diet or physical activity, don’t worry. Researchers suggest to “rely on” a colleague or friend and to encourage each other. The important thing is to start.

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