Sports are often not practiced in marriage

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Relationship lead to a decline in sports activities

Living in a couple relationship turns many people into real sports muffins. The scientists led by Ingmar Rapp and Björn Schneider from the Max Weber Institute for Sociology at the University of Heidelberg come to this conclusion in a current study on the effects of relationship status on physical activity. The researchers published their research in the journal "Social Science & Medicine".

According to the scientists, firm partnerships have a clear effect on sporting activities. Schneider and Rapp see here a confirmation of the so-called marriage market hypothesis, according to which the connection to a partner reduces the motivation for sport. "Men and women in stable partnerships no longer have to prove their attractiveness on the marriage market," explained Rapp. The researchers also found a relationship between the intensity of the partnership and the decline in physical activity. So the enthusiasm for sports already declined in the case of rather casual dating acquaintances, but the effects were greatest for married people.

Marriage with the most adverse effect on exercise
The underlying data comes from the so-called Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which has been collecting information from 11,568 people on their lifestyle, income, education, health, life satisfaction, party inclination and much more for 19 years. The researchers found that male and female physical activity was restricted for every type of relationship, but the “effect was greatest for married couples and weakest for dating couples.” Moreover, the declines in sports activities were not the same for many ages From and in older men living in a marriage, the negative effects of living together and marriage on physical activity became weaker with age, the Heidelberg researchers report. According to the researchers, the women may be paying increasing attention to their partner's health and motivating them to do sports. In the case of women, however, the disadvantageous effects of the fixed relationship are equally pronounced into old age.

Marriage market hypothesis as an explanatory model
Overall, according to the researchers, various theoretical factors can play a role in declining sporting activities in the partnership, but the frequently cited time limit, for example, is of minor importance. The social control or support provided by the partner has the effect, particularly in older men, that sporting activities are not entirely abandoned, but in the overall context of the study, this factor is also rather negligible. Ultimately, only the marriage market hypothesis remains as an essential element for explaining the observed declines in sporting activities in the partnership, report Rapp and Schneider. If the results are confirmed by other studies, this will allow valuable implications for health promotion, the scientists conclude. (fp)

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