Health Partners Get You Started and Keep You on Track

You’ve probably heard the proverb: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. There are times when solitude streamlines the process so you accomplish goals with maximum efficiency. But for most of us, the first step is the hardest.

For many people the proverb could read: if you want to go far at all, go together. Especially when it comes to exercise and our health. Start—or re-start—down the path with a friend and you’re guaranteed to go far.

At one time or another most of us make a New Year’s Resolution to get fit and healthy. And, let’s be honest, we don’t often stick with it for very long. But Shape magazine has a better idea. “If you could only do two things to improve your health, we’d suggest exercising and spending quality time with friends. The former is self-explanatory, but the latter may be even more important than you’d think: Loneliness is as harmful to your well-being as smoking 15 cigarettes a day…So we say, why not combine the two: grab a workout buddy and sweat together. Besides killing two birds with one stone, you’ll be reaping a whole host of benefits.”

These benefits include enjoying your workout more, injury and stress reduction, lower chance of quitting, and more overall goals met. This is thanks to the accountability we find when exercising with a partner. As they explain, “When you’re just dragging yourself to the gym in the morning or after work, it’s easy to talk yourself out of it-less so when you know you’ll be meeting a workout buddy there. The same is true for slacking off during exercise: You’re not going to stop for so many ‘water’ (read: Instagram and text) breaks when you’ve got a friend there to call you out.”

But don’t just exercise with a casual, carpool-type buddy. Go with a friend or spouse. A study based in Scotland discovered that “finding a new exercise companion increased the amount of exercise people took. This was increased even more when the new partner was emotionally supportive…They found that people exercised more when their companion offered emotional support and encouragement and rather than practical support like never missing a session.”

Emotional support benefits whole-body care as well. At Vancouver’s Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic, Dr. Chani Henderson makes every visit a friendly, encouraging partnership. She’ll ask about any ongoing or new medical issues but will also ask questions any friend or workout partner would ask: Are you drinking enough water? Are you stretching? How’s your stress level? Have you been eating well?

As you dialog, care instructions may include visiting your local farmers market or taking time to hike the great outdoors.

Humans are a swirling blend of mind, body, and emotions. To stay healthy, we have to listen to, address, and advocate for all three aspects in daily life. Stress alone can cause depression, ulcers, heart disease, weight gain and even the common cold, according to research by AARP. By forming accountability relationships and sharing your life with others, you can lift each other up, keep each other going, and marvel at how much we share despite our differences.

The Mayo Clinic admits that “Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being…[and] play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”

“Chiropractic care,” echoes Dr. Henderson, “is healing your body from the inside out.” Whether you’re seeking care during pregnancy, after a sports injury or auto accident, or just to improve mobility, balance, and movement, we are always happy to sit down and talk through your worries, concerns, goals, and aspirations. When you’re ready to take that first step (literally or figuratively!), find lots of info online or contact us directly by calling 360-254-0400 to schedule an appointment.

Responsibilities can feel daunting whether you’re at work, home, or the gym. But you don’t have to go it alone. Friend- and partnerships can inspire, encourage, and share the load. As actress, comedian, writer, producer, and director Amy Poehler once said, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.”