Most people think of peer pressure as this awful thing that makes teenagers drink beer, have sex, and make regrettable fashion choices, but it turns out there is a positive side to this type of influence. New research reveals that peer pressure combined with diet or exercise can be a force for good. Many health-conscious individuals have discovered that a “just say yes” approach to peer pressure and other social stress can help them get (and stay) fit. How? Let us count the ways…
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Here's one to remember for New Year’s Day. Planning an endeavor and partnering with someone helps you stick to your resolutions. In one British study, researchers split government employees into four groups: Group one was left alone to exercise and improve its diet, group two was asked to recruit a partner, group three was encouraged to develop “if...then” contingency plans (IF I feel hungry, THEN I will eat an apple), and group four made “if...then” plans with a partner.
The results: Working together and joint planning helped employees in group four stick to their new exercise routines, says Mark Conner, lead researcher and professor at the Institute of Psychological Science at the University of Leeds. What’s more, planning with a partner had a sustained positive effect that was noticeable after six months.