For many of us, getting into better health is at the top of our New Year's resolution list.
Believe it or not, research shows that good health habits are actually contagious.
Cleveland Clinic wellness expert Michael Roizen, M.D., said the best thing we can do to stay on the right track is to find someone to tag along with.
"A buddy is the most important thing you can get to sustain healthy change," said Dr. Roizen. "If you want to make a healthy change, get a buddy who models it and you can model them."
Dr. Roizen said when we have a spouse or close friend who commits to a healthier lifestyle, it motivates us to follow suit.
In fact, a previous study found that when one partner made a change in their behavior, such as quitting smoking, starting an exercise program or eating healthier, the other partner was more likely to make the same positive behavior change.
Dr. Roizen said, unfortunately, bad habits are infectious too. If we have a spouse or a group of close friends that don't model healthy behaviors, he said it's a good idea to make a plan to change those behaviors together.
And when making a serious commitment to getting into better health, it helps to bring the family in on it.
Dr. Roizen said by letting people know our plans, it helps make us more accountable for our actions and it also gives us the chance to get others to join in.
"A great thing to say is, 'I want to get healthy. Do you want to help me and join in?' - it's to announce to the spouse what you're doing and why you're doing it," said Dr. Roizen.
Dr. Roizen said making a lifestyle change is a big commitment and it's really important to have friends to call on. He said when we're stressed we tend to fall into unhealthy habits and that's when we need friends the most.
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