Want to get the most out of your exercise routine? Research says that the answer may lie in not just what you do for exercise but who you exercise with. Check out these six smart reasons to find a workout buddy today:
It may be easy to find excuses to ditch your daily walk or skip your yoga class when it’s just you worrying about yourself, but it’s going to be harder to continually flake on a friend who is counting on you to join them. There is strength in numbers, even when it comes down to something as simple as getting regular exercise.
Research shows that your own diet and exercise habits are largely influenced by the people with whom you surround yourself including your spouse, family, co-workers, friends, you name it. If you want to lose weight and improve your health, making exercise a routine thing with a reliable partner with similar goals will have a more powerful effect than you might expect.
New Activities to Try
If you have been aching to try a sport that requires two or more players, this is your chance. A fitness buddy may be just the ticket to finally trying out racquet sports like squash, pickleball or badminton! How about water-based activities like paddleboarding, canoeing or kayaking? Even strength-training activities like lifting weights or using resistance bands can be enhanced with the help of a partner.
If a fear of injury keeps you from trying more adventurous activities, having the presence and support of another person could help you overcome it. It’s natural to feel a little less sure-footed as you get older, especially when you’re attempting more challenging feats like rock climbing or long-distance hiking. An exercise companion can provide peace of mind and in the rare event of an injury, like a sprained wrist, they can provide physical assistance and quickly get help.
When it comes to health and longevity, few things play as significant a role for older adults as diet, exercise, fall prevention, and combating social isolation. Exercising with another person can thusly serve a dual role in enhancing both physical and mental health. Not only has social interaction been shown to improve mood and fight loneliness and depression, but it has also been linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Get More Exercise
A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that a new exercise partner actually increases the amount of exercise a person does. While the instrumental support of a companion was beneficial to people completing an exercise routine, researchers found out that it was the emotional support of a workout buddy that had the most effect on increased exercise frequency and duration.
Tips for Finding an Exercise Companion
If you simply don’t know where to look for a fitness partner with whom you’ll enjoy spending time and reap the benefits of buddying up, try these tips:
- Think about your location. Is there a nice friend, family member, or neighbour close by with whom it would be easy to get together? Convenience can play a big role in keeping you on track.
- Put out the call. The perfect person might not come to mind at first when you start your search so put out the call on your social media accounts, via email, and even at work. You never know who might come out of the woodwork.
- Look online. If you are simply without viable options in your own social circles, it’s worth looking online to see if there are local groups that meet up to do things you are interested in, i.e. walking clubs, cycling leagues, etc.
- Ask around class. If you already take a fitness class like yoga or Zumba, think about asking a friend from class. They are already committed to regular exercise – perhaps they would be game to try some additional fitness adventures with you?
- Ask your spouse. It might seem like overkill, especially if you spend most of the day with your spouse, but working out with your husband or wife could have profound positive effects on your relationship and bonding.
A growing body of evidence has also shown that when people work out with a group of friends or their spouse, they are more likely to hit their weight loss goals and less likely to quit. So what are you waiting for?