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Are Your Friends Making You Fatter and Slower?

This press release from research teams out of Harvard and the University of California was intriguing and may be particularly interesting to visitors of the popular joggler post, How do you know if you should lose weight. I don’t know how this joggler got to be an internet weight loss guru but it seems to have happened.

Anyway, these scientists conclude that obesity is a socially contagious condition that canChubby friends spread throughout your social network. It turns out that if one of your friends becomes obese, your chances of becoming obese increase by 57%!

Most surprising to me is that there is an effect even over long distances. For example, if you have a friend you don’t see too often but talk on the phone, somehow your chances of becoming obese still increase. They claim to show a direct causal relationship.

So, what’s going on? The authors claim that ideas you have about your body and health is consciously or unconsciously affected by your social network. Basically, if you have a fat friend, you start to adjust your notion of what “fat” really means. This causes you to eat a bit more and accept a little extra weight.

You’ll find there is a similar effect when running with a group. When you train with others you naturally develop a notion of how fast to run. Keep running with those people and three things can happen.

Running with a group

1. You speed up. If your group runs faster than you, you will naturally go faster to keep up. This is good as it helps you get faster and in better shape.

2. You slow down. If your group is much slower than you, you’ll slow down and lose some of your speed. To get faster you have to run faster.

3. You quit. If you can’t keep up with a faster running group or get too frustrated with a slower one, most people will just quit. And if you need that motivation to keep running than your running (or joggling) will suffer.

So, just like with weight gain / loss your running speed can be affected by the people around you. The same is also true of juggling.

Want to get faster? Find faster friends.

Want to become a better juggler? Hang out with better jugglers.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. It does apply to web blog friendships. But only in so much as if you comment on a blog, that will inspire people to comment on your own blog. It’s a great strategy and we love all comments here on JYAJ!

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