For better or for worse? Couples who workout together and make healthy lifestyle changes as a team fair better than those who don’t. If your partner takes on a healthy habit, not only are you more likely to start the habit, but you are also more likely to stick with it.

In an article published January 2015 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers in the UK found that people were more successful in sticking with new habits if their partner was also on the same track.

What’s The Evidence?

In the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, researchers followed 3,722 couples over the age of 50 who were either married or living together. Both men and women included in the study had at least 3 unhealthy behaviors at baseline (ie, physically inactive, smoking, overweight). The end point of the study was to have at least a 5% decrease in weight loss or greater, an increase in physical activity or smoking cessation.

Overall, they found that when one partner began a new healthy behavior, the other partner soon followed. If one partner already was performing a particularly healthy behavior, the other partner soon would, but the outcome was not as robust.

Working out with the one you love is one of the best things that you can do to grow together as a couple. Often, couples exercise separately, which decreases the amount of quality time spent together. Because endorphins are released during exercise, both are likely in a good mood as stress diminishes away. Also consider that exercising together can also cause you to become more attracted to your partner as you watch him or her sweat! 

Getting rid of bad habits as a couple is also a good strategy to collectively improve your lifestyle. The encouragement and accountability that you can give to or receive from your partner is invaluable. Your partner knows you and understands your temptations and weaknesses. He or she will also know the best methods to use to help you succeed. We all know that we are less likely to eat that cookie if our loved one is “giving us a funny look!”

From a “family unit” standpoint, if both of you are becoming healthier, the benefits can be endless. You both will have more energy, feel less stressed, be more positive and have fewer medical problems. If you have children, you will also be setting an amazing example on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

This year, try exercising, removing bad habits, and forming good habits with your partner. Make a plan and hold each other accountable. You will find that you will not only become a healthier person, but you will also become a healthier couple.