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Finding buddies, becoming healthier

October 14, 2018

Studies show working out with a buddy or in a group can bolster motivation to reach goals.

If you Google the word “buddies,” you get 412 million responses — a testimony to just how greatly folks value the concept of a supportive pal. But many of you try to reach your health and wellness goals alone and become frustrated or (can we say it?) lazy.

Multiple studies show that if you’re aiming to upgrade your life, doing it with a buddy or in a group makes it more achievable and sustainable, because companionship bolsters motivation. It’s the most important choice for starting a healthy routine, according to Dr. Mike.

Whatever healthy-living ambitions you have — lowering your cholesterol, losing weight, learning to cook a plant-based diet — there are buddies who can help you succeed in those challenges.

You can enlist your co-workers, family and friends to join your efforts, but sometimes it’s more effective to join a large “buddy up” organization where there’s someone new to offer you encouragement and fun! Meetup.com offers nationwide support groups (structured, group-organized events are safest): For example, there are New York and Los Angeles hiking groups with tens of thousands of members. Metro Detroit Workout (4,000-plus members) and Women of Color in Atlanta (7,000-plus members) provide support for weight loss and physical activity. Local Ys and commercial businesses dedicated to weight loss and fitness also provide group support. You even can have a workout buddy through your computer (check out the challenge groups at www.sharecare.com/static/challenges). Research shows that having a buddy also increases motivation and enjoyment over exercising alone.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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