Marital Status Causes the Change in Physical Fitness

Marital Status Causes the Change in Physical Fitness

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, do not prove that a change in marital status directly causes the change in fitness — for better or worse.

The research  followed nearly 8,900 adults over several years.

Both men and women who got married during that time tended to experience a dip in cardiovascular fitness, as measured by treadmill tests.

Still, researchers say the results support the notion that once people are married, they tend to let themselves go a bit. But if they remain single or get divorced, they have more incentive to get in shape.

The lead researcher Dr. Francisco B. Ortega, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden told that any one person’s fitness levels depend on a complex mix of factors, including genetics, exercise habits, body composition and overall health.

But if the newly wedded are aware that their physical fitness could wane, they might pay more attention to keeping up an exercise routine, according to Ortega and his colleagues.

Men who got divorced during the study showed a gain in fitness levels, while those who remained married saw no change. Meanwhile, men who were divorced at the outset showed a general decline in fitness over time — but the drop was steepest among those who got re-married.

The researchers say the findings highlight the role of social factors in people’s fitness levels.

And that fits in with the general idea that major life transitions affect people’s health habits, noted Dr. Steven N. Blair, a professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who also worked on the study.

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