A recent study highlighted the positive impact one spouse can have on the other by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Before Crabby starts sharing her many disorganized thoughts on this topic (and she hopes you have some too, only perhaps not as disorganized) she'll go ahead and present a few of study's conclusions. It was conducted by researchers Tracy Falba and Jody Sindelar, and as usual, Crabby hopes someday they Google themselves and wind up smack in the middle of the pages of Cranky Fitness--marveling at the mess Crabby has made of their study.
After asking more than 6,000 married adults about exercise, smoking, alcohol use, flu shots, and cholesterol screening--twice, both in 1996 and 2000, here's what our researchers found:
"Spouses were five to six times more likely to quit smoking, quit drinking, and to start getting flu shots if their spouse started doing so during the study."
They were also about 50% more likely to start exercising, and about 80% more likely to get a cholesterol test.
And it didn't matter which spouse changed first: husbands and wives influenced each other equally.
The study didn't specify whether nagging played any part in this, and Crabby refuses to speculate. (She's also not clear that research supports the idea that "not drinking" is always healthier than drinking, either, but whatever).
However, interesting as this was, it's mostly a jumping off point for Crabby's real interest: What impact does being coupled have on the person who is already health-conscious (or health-obsessed)? Sure, having a healthy mate may lead one to adopt better habits, but does having a slackier mate do the opposite? Does it drag you down? Or what happens if you're about equally conscientious?
Crabby guesses that among the coupled Cranky Fitness readers out there, many of you may be the more health-conscious one in your relationship. So while it's great that you may be influencing your mate in the right direction, what's the impact on you?
Not being prepared to actually go consult The Google and hunt down relevant research, Crabby would much rather find out what you all think about how being coupled or not affects your attempts to be healthy. Because who cares what the studies say when we have our very own entertaining database right here?
Of course there is this whole pesky "spouse" issue, which Crabby interprets to mean Partner or Significant Other or Mate. Crabby feels her Most Significant Other should count, even though under the laws of every United State except Massachusetts, she doesn't. But that's a rant for another time.
Anyway, Crabby is very lucky in that even though MSO does not share quite her obsessive interest in health matters, and dislikes most vegetables, she has always been very supportive of Crabby's efforts to eat healthy and get daily exercise.
In fact, check this out: Crabby's knees are trashed from years of running; she is much better at going uphill than down. Her absolute favorite aerobic walk is up to the top of a huge hill (in Crabby's mind, it is a Mountain) but it's an hour and a half round trip, and her knees object heartily to the walk back down. Nevertheless, every Sunday, Crabby sets off with her iPod and her heartrate monitor and charges up the hill.
And MSO arrives, 45 minutes later, at the top of the hill to drive her back down again. She brings a bottle of cold water, too.
Is that not awesome?
So what do you folks think about being singled or coupled and the effects that might have on your efforts to be healthy? Or kids, heck, we can throw kids in the mix too!