Ideally, we’d all like to find a type of exercise that we genuinely enjoy. Not all of us like going to the gym, for example, but maybe going for a jog or a bike ride may be more appealing. But even for the die-hard fitness junkies, there are those days when we’d much rather stay in bed than get up early to workout. Or maybe we just get a little bored with our regular routine. This is one of the many times that having a workout buddy can come in handy.
It’s all too easy to justify to ourselves why we should skip a workout. Maybe the weather isn’t great, or we’re too exhausted from a long day at work. To be clear, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for taking a day off, and you definitely shouldn’t guilt trip yourself when you do. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle over the long term is about balance, it’s not about pushing yourself to the limit, which will just cause you to burn out. But, there are also days when we might ditch the workout just because we’re not feeling motivated. On those days, it can be immensely helpful if you have a workout scheduled in advance. If it’s on the books and you’ve made plans with another person, you’re far less likely to skip it.
A common reason why some may find it difficult to stick with a workout routine is that they simply get bored with it. One way to combat this kind of boredom is to mix up your routine. Do different kinds of workouts on different days. Or try a new walking or jogging route. Another option is to exercise with a friend. The conversation is likely to make it a lot more fun. It will probably become a social date that you’re looking forward to, not just another item on your to-do list.
Share your accomplishments
It can be helpful to set workout goals for yourself in order to maintain your motivation and progress. These don’t need to be extremely difficult goals. It can be as simple as going on a walk three days a week. And the reward for following through and meeting your goals will be even sweeter if you have a buddy there watching you progress and congratulating you when you succeed.
As mentioned above, mixing up your workout routine is a great way to keep it fun and interesting. Maybe you want to try a new class, like spin or pilates. This can be a little intimidating, though, if you’ve never done it before. Bringing along a friend who may be new to the activity as well can help you to feel more confident.
How great would it be if we could all afford personal trainers? Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s a bit out of the budget. Whether it’s running, lifting or yoga, just knowing there’s someone there seeing what you’re doing is likely to motivate you to maintain better form. It’s just human nature. And what’s more, a buddy who has a little bit of experience with the activity can help you to correct any errors.
This is probably particularly applicable to exercises like lifting, where your workout buddy can spot you. But with any kind of workout, your buddy will have your back, and that can help you to avoid injuries. And if you do get injured, having someone there to help is important, as well.
Better stress reduction
We all know that exercise helps to combat stress. But a study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that “social exercise” – working out with others – resulted in even more stress reduction as compared to exercising alone. Social exercise increases “calmness” after a workout.
A better diet
Since your fitness buddy is interested, at least to some extent, in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it’s probably likely that they’ll be open to supporting you in your dietary goals, as well. If you’re aiming to start eating a cleaner diet, having a friend there to swap healthy recipes with and gain emotional support from can be invaluable.
Clearly, there are a number of reasons to consider partnering with a workout buddy. Keep in mind, you’ll want to find someone who’s a good match. They should be at a similar level of fitness, have similar workout goals and the same motivation style as you. When you find that person, it can take your exercise routine to a whole new level.
— Sarah Cooke