Marriage may be good for you mentally, but it could make you a loser from a fitness standpoint. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who are married are less likely to be physically fit than single or divorced people.
Are Married People Less Physically Fit?
Researchers followed almost 9,000 adults for three years. During this time, they did treadmill testing to see how physically fit these adults were. They also questioned them about their daily habits and gave them serial physical exams.
The results? Men became less physically fit after tying the knot. Single men also experienced a decline in their fitness level although it was less pronounced than that experienced by men who married. What about divorced men? Divorce may be hard on a man mentally and financially, but it gives their fitness levels a boost. Men who divorced during the three year study improved their overall level of fitness. On the other hand, men who re-married after divorce experienced a gradual decline.
What about women? Women who weren’t married became slightly more physically fit over time, whereas their married counterparts experienced no improvement in their fitness level. Unlike men, divorced women had no change in their fitness levels after they stopped being married.
Why Does Marriage Affect Fitness Levels?
The most likely explanation is people who are still looking for companionship are more focused on keeping their bodies in shape than those who are part of a committed relationship. The fear of not being able to compete in the dating world because of being out of shape or overweight may compel some men and women to work out more and lead a healthier lifestyle. On the other hand, the discrepancy in fitness levels between married people, divorcees and single people wasn’t dramatic.
Are people lulled into fitness complacency when they get married? Do they feel less need to stay physically fit? The security of marriage and the challenges of raising children combined with a lack of time makes staying fit more of a challenge. Still, being fit is important whether you’re married or not.
Maybe it’s time for more couples to join a health club together or find a fitness activity such as running, biking or tennis that they mutually enjoy. Not only will them to live longer lives, but it could bring a couple closer together.
Medscape.com. “Marriage Can Be Bad for Physical Fitness”