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Want to get fit - then do it with your loved one

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Couples are more likely to give up smoking, visit the gym, or lose weight if they get healthy together, a study has found.

People are better at taking up healthy lifestyle habits if their partners turn over a new leaf too, the research shows.

Scientists looked at 3,722 couples, either married or living together, who were enrolled into the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Elsa).

They found that participants were more successful at swapping bad habits for good ones if their partners made the change as well.

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For instance, among women who smoked, half managed to quit if their partner gave up at the same time. Trying to quit on their own proved much more difficult - 17pc of those whose partners were already non-smokers succeeded, and just eight per cent of those whose partners were unreformed regular smokers.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Jackson, from University College London, said: "Now is the time to make New Year's resolutions to quit smoking, take exercise, or lose weight. And doing it with your partner increases your chances of success."

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's head of health information, said: "Making lifestyle changes can make a big difference to our health. This study shows that when couples make those changes together, they are more likely to succeed.

The study, published in the journal Jama Internal Medicine,

hnews@herald.ie


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