Get Healthy Together!

Studies show that when one of you gets off the couch the other is likely to follow.

By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria | Ph.D. from The 7 Stages of Marriage


  • 5.

    Argue amicably -- or practice more stress reduction.

    A growing stack of research links unhappy marriages with unfortunate health consequences. A study of 105 middle-aged British civil service workers found that women and men with more marital worries had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as higher levels of stress and high blood pressure — factors that raise risk for heart attack and stroke. Marital tensions have also been connected with depression, slower wound healing, more gum disease, and higher risk for stomach ulcers.

  • 6.

    Take a vacation.

    University of Pittsburgh psychiatry researchers who tracked the health of 12,000 men with heart problems for nine years found that guys who took annual vacations had a lower risk of death than those who skipped these much-needed breaks. Vacations may protect health by cutting stress, by putting you in a relaxing setting with family and friends, and by giving you an opportunity to get more exercise.

  • 7.

    Take responsibility for your health.

    Traditionally, a stay-at-home wife guarded marital health by cooking healthy meals and planning stress-relieving, mood-boosting activities. She probably also nagged her guy to eat his broccoli, go to bed earlier, get more sleep, and take his vitamins. An intriguing University of Chicago study found that in two-career couples, a husband’s odds for good health drop 25 percent if his wife works full-time. The moral? Husbands and wives should take charge of their health, notes lead study author Ross Stolzenberg, Ph.D. Working as a team yields better results than designating one partner as head coach and nag.

  • 8.

    Learn all you can.

    Healthy living can seem like a moving target: One day fat’s all bad; the next, it’s a miracle weight-loss food. One day, walking fast is all the rage; the next, a slow routine is touted by yet another expert as the best way to burn fat. What’s right? The answer: It usually doesn’t matter. The basics of healthy living are undeniable: getting up and moving most days for 30 minutes or more; eating modest portions at meals; choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat as your primary foods; having a positive attitude; getting a good night’s sleep; taking a multivitamin. This is simple, proven wisdom that alone can transform your health.   That said, there’s value to following the health news. New research can help identify legitimately powerful new remedies and preventive measures. And great health writing is less about science and facts and more about motivating you to take action — and we can all use as much motivation as possible! But keeping up with health trends and breakthroughs takes a team.

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