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Studies reveal the link between your romantic partner and your health

“For better or for worse, in sickness and in health” – it turns out your choice of romantic partner could significantly impact your physical wellbeing. Studies suggest that the couple who sweats together stays together (or at least stays in shape), while at the other end of the spectrum, poor lifestyle habits can be contagious in a relationship. In short, whether your partner is more gym junkie or junk-food addict, your own health may be set to follow suit.

1. Weight

“Fitspo couple goals” are trending on Instagram, and science backs this up. Research from John Hopkins University found that when a wife amped up her exercise routine, her husband was 70 per cent more likely to increase his activity1. When a husband started meeting his own recommended fitness goals, his wife was 40 per cent more likely to join in as well.

Similarly, a University of London study revealed that participants were more likely to make positive changes to their lifestyle if their partner did too2. An overweight person whose significant other lost weight was three times more likely to lose weight themselves, compared to a person whose partner stayed the same weight.

2. Sleep

We spend about a third of our lifetime sleeping, so it’s worth making it a priority in your relationship. A study of over 1000 couples uncovered a foreseeable link: if your partner suffers from sleep apnea or snoring, you’re more likely to sleep poorly, too3. Unfortunately this can create a viscious cycle; research shows that an unsatisfactory slumber may lead to irritability and increased anxiety4 – which could stir up relationship problems in turn. As neurologist W.Christopher Winter, author of The Sleep Solution, said, “All of the things it takes to make a relationship work are probably completely decimated by lack of sleep.”

3. Type 2 diabetes

Researchers analysed more than 75,000 couples and found that the spouses of individuals with type 2 diabetes had a 26 per cent higher risk of developing the disease themselves – and also a higher risk for prediabetes1. The explanation? Bad habits like an unhealthy diet and inactive lifestyle can be contagious, especially for couples living together.

On the plus side, those who made constructive lifestyle changes with their partner successfully lowered their risk of chronic disease2. Feeling inspired? Here are some habits that will simultaneously benefit your health and your relationship.

    1. Switch your boozy dinner date for a walk – a scenic hike or brisk beachside stroll will lower your blood pressure without sacrificing on romance.
    2. Set joint fitness goals (like working out four times per week) and reward yourselves when you hit them.
    3. Prepare a healthy meal together while catching up on each other’s days.
    4. Have a no-phone zone after 8pm – this will give you time to reconnect as a couple and promote a better night’s sleep, too.
    5. Try something new: golf, rockclimbing, swing dancing. These novelty activites will release dopamine and get you moving.
    6. Sync up your schedules for a sounder slumber; couples who sleep and wake at the same time report increased intimacy.

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