Friends Can Make You Fit

 
 
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Have you heard you can “catch” obesity from friends, family, and even distant acquaintances?

Yep. Crazy, but true.

If those in your social network are overweight and out of shape, chances are you may be, too.

But the flip side of that phenomenon is also true: Good health and fitness are contagious as well.

  • People tend to quit smoking in groups.

  • People who eat a lot of vegetables have friends & family who do too.

  • And people who hang out with regular exercisers, are more likely to work out as well.

A study published in scientific journal Nature Communications found that friends have a major influence on a person’s exercise routine.

Researchers analyzed the daily exercise patterns of over a million people who ran over 350 million km over a five-year period and found exercise is “socially contagious”.

Invite Friends to Exercise with You

Reap the benefits of this social contagion by inviting others to exercise with you.

Have them join you for an exercise class, a bike ride, a run or a hike. Not only is it more fun with a buddy, but sharing a common activity can help deepen and strengthen your relationship.

Plus, you’ll both end up healthier & more fit as you consciously and unconsciously influence one another to be active.

Expand the Circle

One of the best ways to make sure both you & your buddy stick to your exercise routine is to invite friends of friends to work out.

If it’s just the two of you working on healthy habits, there still may be a circle of others who might be nudging you both in more sedentary directions. But if you can build a positive “wall of influence” around yourselves, your chances of keeping up with your fitness routine are greater.

Be the Role Model. Boost Your Motivation.

Remember that you are not the only one being influenced. Everything you do also influences others. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your healthy or unhealthy habits affect your loved ones.

Healthy changes you make to your own lifestyle reverberate through your social circle. So on days when you feel unmotivated, think about a child, spouse or friend. You just may be a little more willing to get up & go to the gym.