Finally, we have scientific evidence for what many husbands and wives already know: when people get married, they tend to let themselves go.
A study, conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, followed 6,900 men and 1,971 women for three years at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. The majority of the men and women who were married during that three-year stretch experienced a drop in fitness. On the other hand, men and women who were divorced during the study increased their fitness levels.
However, the researchers will not admit that a marriage or divorce directly causes a change in fitness.
According to Reuters:
Still, researchers say the results support the notion that once people are married and, presumably, off the dating market, they tend to let themselves go a bit. But if they remain single or get divorced, they have more incentive to get in shape.
Francisco Ortega, the lead researcher, said:
This study provides for the first time evidence that marital transitions are [an] important social stimulus that can influence fitness.
In a broader sense, the study supports research that major transitions affect our health habits. Steven Blair, a contributor to the study, said:
Sometimes these effects are positive and sometimes negative. I think a message to the public is that they need to be aware of the possible effects of life transitions, and try to make plans to maintain a healthful lifestyle.