You can make it on your own: Health and Fitness

You can make it on your own. Jennifer Lopez sings “I know you’re independent, you can make it on your own”; Lalah Hathaway sings “I’ll tell you ’cause I know/ You can make it on your own“; even Gene Watson sang way back when “Lay your head upon my shoulder till you can make it on your own.” And you must admit, they’ve got something there. As Americans (Yankees?) we are nothing if not resourceful, independent, and self-reliant, but is the solitary route always the best pathway to success and happiness?

“You can make it on your own,” might just be one of the great fallacies of song lyrics and the American dream. New studies in business and psychology tell us what health and fitness buffs have always known: We humans work better in groups. As society changes and we spend more time isolated from our peers and family, our creativity and even our health and happiness can start to wain.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to go it alone. Find a buddy and you might just find something greater.

Couples who exercise together have a much greater chance of staying together. “In a recent study of married couples who joined health clubs together, Jack Raglin, an associate professor of kinesiology at Indiana University, found that couples who worked out separately had a 50 percent dropout rate after a year; whereas couples who went to the gym together, regardless of whether they focused on the same type of exercise, had only a 10 percent dropout rate. ” (

You don’t have to be married to your fitness buddy in order to find success and meet your health and fitness goals. Find a like-minded friend and share your calendar! You’ll find more strength in numbers greater than one. “Exercise partners can provide a kind of gentle coercion and limit your negative self-talk,” says Barbara A. Brehm, Ed.D., professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, at Smith College in Northampton, MA. (

Mens Fitness tells us that when you work out with a partner, you’ll have thinner friends: “Researchers at Harvard University found that you can “catch” obesity (along with smoking habits and happiness) because it spreads like an infectious disease. The experts found that a person’s risk of becoming obese rises by two percent for every five obese social contacts they have. “There’s definitely some truth to that,” agrees Stonehouse. “If you’re surrounded by people who are active and eat well, there’s a good chance you’re going to do the same.” (

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