They say that opposites attract, but if you scan a newspaper’s photos of couples celebrating silver and golden anniversaries, you’d swear the secret to a long and happy marriage is to wed someone who looks just like you. That’s because shared habits and experiences shape facial expressions, wrinkles and folds, creating similarities between a husband and wife that weren’t there when they were younger.
But superficial worry lines aren’t all that can develop as years go by. Research shows that some couples become similarly UNhealthy: If one person in a couple is obese, there’s a 37 percent chance the other will become obese too. And if one person has Type 2 diabetes, then the other has a 26 percent increased risk of developing it.
But what we noticed about these studies was that many more of you do not become obese or develop diabetes when your partner does. And we’re interested in supporting YOU to become “The Influencer” in your house by making better health fun — even seductive.
♦ 1. Make a walking date: Take a daily stroll for 10 days running (it’ll set the habit). Then get his and hers pedometers; set goals for the next four months, heading for 10,000 steps a day.
♦ 2. Together, start your own cooking show — “Chopped” meets “Your Kitchen Makeover.” What’s chopped? Anything with added sugar or syrup and trans fats, any grain that’s not 100 percent whole, and red meat. Your kitchen makeover? A week’s menu featuring ingredients and dishes you’ve never tried before.
♦ 3. Remember — share hugs and laughter! Focus on the younger RealAge, livelier sexual relationship and healthier life you want for you both!
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Two of our favorite cartoons: One depicts a man walking across the street, texting. As he passes a “Men at Work” sign, he steps right into an open manhole. The caption below reads, “Natural selection at work.” The other shows an illustration of an anthropological chart. They usually depict man’s evolution into an upright, walking being. But the caption on this one, instead of saying “The Ascent of Man,” reads “The Descent of Man,” and the last image is of a hunched-over human form, texting.
According to some reports, in the past seven years, the number of pedestrians who have gotten hit and landed in the emergency room while crossing the street because of “distracted walking” has quadrupled. And some estimates put the actual number at more than twice that, because many incidents go unreported. We do know that there’s been a spike in the number of pedestrian fatalities.
Now, we could suggest that you pay more attention while you cross the street, but you have to take responsibility for keeping your chin up and being alert. What we can do point out that the neck-bent, shoulders-slumped posture that goes along with texting and walking is a trigger for headaches, shallow breathing, and shoulder and neck pain. What’s more, your entire balance system is compromised, and you’re likely to injure yourself in a stumble. So the next time you start to walk and text, stop. Just pull over, look up and find a place where it’s safe for everyone to communicate.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.