Humans are social; we spend time together with family and friends talking, laughing, eating, playing games… In the same way these social experiences enrich our lives, exercising with a friend or group has benefits too.
Buddying up for physical activity can also help you get started on, stick with, and reach fitness goals. Here’s how:
- Structure: Think about your job. With your employment, you know when you start, what your tasks are, and you get rewarded (financially and personally) for what you accomplish. Signing up for an exercise class gives you the same kind of structure. You know when to be there, what you’ll be doing, and your rewards will be physical, social, and psychological.
- Accountability: Meeting up with a friend to exercise makes you more accountable. You’re making a commitment and promise to your friend – no one likes a no-show! You can support and encourage each other especially when one of you feels less motivated or when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
- Learning opportunity: Exercising with a friend who is more active than you can be an opportunity to challenge yourself and learn by working with a person who is more experienced. If your fitness levels are different, the fitter person can start their workout session before meeting or keep going afterwards. Another option, if you plan on doing intervals, is to warm-up together, do your respective intervals (at your own paces) in the same location, and then cool down together afterwards.
- Safety: Your parents were right, there’s safety in numbers. You might feel safer having a friend to run with early in the morning or late at night. Or if you are hitting the MTB trails, it’s good to have a buddy in case of an injury or mechanical issue.
- Fun: Yup buddying up is just plain fun. You get company, teamwork and maybe even some friendly competition.
Up for a challenge? Plan a time to be active with a friend, your partner, or family on one day this week. It may give you a new perspective on being physically active.