Cheerful couple looking at smart phone in park

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It may be time to kill some of those solo workouts if you’re in a relationship. A recent study on couples published in the Journal of Health Communication found that partners who worked collaboratively to lose weight reported better health results and overall satisfaction with the experience. But deciding to exercise as a duo isn’t enough. Experts found that how couples supported each other is the biggest determining factor for weight loss success.

One major factor for positive results was the couples’ overall relational environment. For example, some couples had a “lone battler” environment, where each person did his/her own thing, while others developed a “synchronized” environment, where the couple came to a collective decision on when and how they would tackle weight loss. The lone battler environment yielded lower results than other settings, which suggests that confronting health issues as a team (both parties agree on the types of food that will be in the house, supporting exercise time, etc..) creates an environment more conducive to improving health.

Another determining factor experts found was how the duo interacted with each other during the process. The common strategies were encouragement, influence (offering peer pressure) and coercion. Couples who created a synchronized environment faired best when utilizing any of the above strategies and each approach, including coercion, was generally perceived in a more positive light.

Making lifestyle changes around diet and exercise requires a lot of work and commitment. Having a healthy partner on board is a game changer.