By Matt Evans
Are you or your significant other planning a big weight loss effort? Perhaps one (or both of you) has gained a little bit of weight over lockdown, or maybe this is a decision that was a long time coming. Either way, you're much more effective as a team than you are alone.
That's according to a new study published this week by the European Society of Cardiology. The study, conducted by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, looked at heart attack survivors referred to programmes for weight reduction, physical activity, and quitting smoking.
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Lead author Ms Lotte Verweij told ScienceDaily: "Our study shows that when spouses join the effort to change habits, patients have a better chance of becoming healthier -- particularly when it comes to losing weight."
Compared to those without a partner, patients with a partner were more than twice as likely to lose a significant amount of weight within a year. Two heads really are better than one: with a partner or friend joining in, it will effectively double your chances of succeeding.
It's not a new phenomenon (for example, this 2011 study found the exercise habits of people close to you had a positive effect on your own) but it is the first to attribute the fact that your significant other can help you lose a significant amount of weight if you embark on this journey together.
How can you get involved? Social distancing measures has lead to many partner-based workouts becoming banned in most gyms, such as boxing with one person holding the pads, or dancing, or holding someone's ankles while they do sit-ups. These now become activities you can do with someone you live with.
Going on runs together can also spur your partner on to become more competitive, and making family meals to eat together ensures you both stick to a healthy diet plan. You can start by implementing these 15 easy ways to help you get your five-a-day.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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