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Friday, July 15, 2011

Take a Friend to the Gym

I am fortunate that my two daughters are devoted to a healthy lifestyle. We all belong to Spectrum in Thousand Oaks, a behemoth of a gym. With encouragement from my daughters, I joined  the gym at the  beginning of this year, and effectively turned my health around through a program called the Greatest Challenge. Now, to remain in good health, besides eating a healthy diet,  I meet my daughters on weekend mornings for a horrific workout. I go on my own to the gym two or three more times during the week.

When you write, or spend hours in front of a computer screen for other reasons, you don't move, your body is hunched over, your shoulders and neck cramped, your circulation stymied. You know it, you can feel what it is doing to you. I  know how hard it is to step away from the computer, but if you don't, the quality of your life will erode over time. Life and movement are intricately inter twined.

So when Spectrum sent out an e-mail with the scientific studies quoted below, I thought I would share the info with you.

A new study has found that healthy friends could be the best way to keep fit. A study of 3,610 Australian women, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, found that physical activity and healthy eating behavior were both strongly affected by social contacts. In other words, if your friends are doing it, you are more likely to be doing it.

Researchers from Deakin University surveyed women between the ages of 18 and 46 for the study. They said the importance of social environmental influences on health-promoting behaviors such as exercise and healthy eating has been increasingly recognized. Their new study is one of the first to illustrate the link between social support and a health-focused lifestyle.

Those women who moved in healthier circles were in turn more likely to eat well and get more exercise. The researchers suggest that healthy behavior may be contagious.


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