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Healthy Friends, Healthy You

What or who influences our health and well-being? Researchers at the University of Notre Dame looked at the differences in the health, happiness and stress of individuals wearing fitness trackers vs. wearing the trackers and sharing the data with others. While fitness trackers capturing health behavior data can alone be motivating, the researchers found a strong correlation between those who share the data derived from their wearables and those having vibrant social networks. They concluded that encouraging people to share their experiences and efforts with others can be very powerful and effective to enhance their own health and well-being. So, are you sharing your fitness journey and efforts with others? Do you ask others for encouragement? Many of us find great value and benefit in working out with others or having friends who encourage fitness and positive health behaviors. We also may benefit from having a friend who holds us accountable for healthy behaviors. While some of us prefer to work out alone we may still value the feedback we receive from others or enjoy sharing our achievements with our friends.

Do your friends value health and fitness as much as you? Sometimes comparing ourselves with others can be damaging, but it can also be a motivating force to get us moving. Some of us are competitive by nature and compare ourselves to others not always to put ourselves down, but to step up our game. We typically surround ourselves with those similar to us in both lifestyle, choices, and values. Personally, working out in a group has proven to be both challenging and encouraging to me. I'm reminded of the scripture verse, "iron sharpens iron," and the benefit of the support of those around us. I challenge you to take the next step by sharing your goals for a healthier lifestyle with like-minded friends. In this way, you will reap the benefit of their encouragement, accountability, and support.

Is there an area in your life where you need that extra push and motivation? Sometimes finding a group who engage in those activities and signing up for the class is a good first step. Maybe it's an exercise class, community group, dance class, or some hobby that you're longing to pursue. Or maybe you ache for a deeper connection with like-minded people. Research and choose your activity and push forward rather than staying stuck in "should haves" or "could haves." Find compatible people who are passionate about an organization or cause that you can get involved with and make some changes in your life. We feel better when we find a purpose that we're passionate about and surround ourselves with people who have a similar objective. Rather than sitting at home wishing for this connection and purpose, we need to get out and take the chance to find activities and people who will bring us joy. Decide today to find your people who will support, encourage, and motivate you.

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