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Your BFF Can Help Predict Your Health Better Than a Fitness Tracker App

Social Circles Can Improve Your Health

Health and fitness apps are very popular and assist people in learning more about their health and fitness levels.  Typical app benefits include higher frequencies of exercise (due to goal setting), monitoring sleep patterns (making sure you are not experiencing burnout or fatigue), and working out harder (again, through proper goal settings).  However, a new study out of the University of Notre Dame showed that there is another variable you may want to look at when determining your state of health; friends and family.

By surrounding yourself with a social network of friends and family who are active, have similar fitness goals, and educated about diet and exercise, can have a massive impact on your own health.  Beliefs, opinions, behavior, and attitudes are spread throughout social circles, and when they are health-positive, they rub off, and will improve your own fitness levels.

When researchers used both social network structures and Fitbit data they found they were able to achieve a 65% improvement in predicting happiness, a 55% improvement in predicting positive attitudes, and a 38% improvement in predicting success.

This is why organized sports can play an important role in both kid’s and adult’s fitness levels.  Other teammates who are like-minded in their fitness goals can rub off on people, create a healthy, competitive, atmosphere, as well as teach us how to overcome challenges and use failure or loss as a way to improve ourselves.

One of the surprising factors about simply using fitness trackers without positive social networks was that there could be downsides.  Technology addiction, eating disorders, and guilt for not meeting goals were a few harmful side effects of relying on apps to dictate our fitness lifestyle.

If you are looking for ways to improve your health, you may want to start by improving your social circles.  Try new classes at Balance, look for a workout partner, and join group runs or bike rides.  Technology can certainly help monitor and manage certain aspects to our fitness levels, but the right people seem to be the better route!