Spousal Support for Exercise

Several studies show that one way to encourage middle-aged people to exercise is for them to do it with their spouses.

Almost 50 percent of married men who exercised without their wives dropped out of exercise programs while only 29 percent of those who exercised with their wives quit. If your husband has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a paunchy abdomen, you are more likely get him to exercise in a program that you do together. Try to find an activity you will both enjoy and can do equally well.

Cycling is a good choice for many people, but not much fun if one person is a much better rider than the other. If you like each other, try riding a tandem bicycle. You will always be together and you both can get a good workout because the amount of work you do depends on how hard you press on the pedals. If you press with twice the force, you do twice the work. Many areas have tandem bike clubs, which make riding even more fun; you'll meet lots of other tandem-riding couples.

1) JP Wallace, JS Raglin, CA Jastremski. Twelve month adherence of adults who joined a fitness program with a spouse vs without a spouse. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 35: 3:206-213.

2) Am. College of Sports Medicine Los Vegas, May 27-30, 1987.

3) Med Sci in Sports and Exercise. 19(2);S78:abstract number 464.

Checked 8/9/08

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