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Married People Exercise Less Than Singles


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

Couples who get married should beware that matrimony can lead to unhealthy consequences, says a new British poll.

The survey by Loughborough University and commissioned by the Department of Health, found that married individuals exercise much less than single people, and it turns out that it is married men who appear to be the laziest. To come up with this conclusion, guidelines developer Dr. Len Almond, visiting professor at St Mary's University College, and his colleagues, asked 100 adults around the country to wear accelerometers for 14 days, in order to track their pace, and also asked them to fill out a questionnaire where the participants had to describe their activity levels.

According to the results, only 27 per cent of people in the poll met the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. However, the majority of those who did not exercise enough and did less than the recommended amount of jogging, bicycling, swimming or playing sports - 76 per cent of the male participants and 63 per cent of the female participants - were married. On the contrary, just twenty four per cent of the men who did not meet the guidelines and 33 per cent of the ladies were single or divorced.

Maybe, having settled down, couples no longer feel the need to keep themselves in physically perfect shape. Or it could be that they feel weighed down with many more responsibilities (children, for example) which are reducing their activity patterns, speculates Dr. Almond. Weekends are a perfect opportunity to spend time with the family - to get out of the house and have fun in a natural environment - which has also been shown to have many other benefits.

This new survey comes after another research carried out last year which revealed that married couples are twice as likely to be obese when compared to those who are single, suggesting that people let themselves go once they tie the knot. According to that poll, married individuals enjoy more comfortable lifestyles, spending more time in front of the TV and in other sedentary pursuits and having sexual intercourse less often than singles.

Fortunately, this is not all bad news for those who decided to get married. A recent research by scientists at the University of Rochester in New York revealed that a happy marriage triples a person's chance of surviving heart surgery. In the journal Health Psychology, the investigators wrote that something about a good marital unit 'gets under the skin' - benefiting heart health to the same extent as quitting smoking, staying in a good shape and keeping high blood pressure under control.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, said that doing some kind of physical activity every day offers huge benefits. That is why he and his colleagues from the United Kingdom recently updated the guidelines so they were more flexible and suitable for everyone. Adult males and females can now get their 150 active minutes per week in multiple sessions of 10 minutes or more. This can include everyday activities such as walking at a good pace, doing gardening, bicycling and so on.

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