Exercise is an activity that people generally think of as a solitary endeavor. However, the research clearly indicates that people who get their exercise with friends experience dramatically better results. There are many reasons for the findings, all of which provide us with more motivation to get out into the world and be active together. In a world where time is scarce and the incentives often seem far out of reach, we need as many motivators as we can get our hands-on.
One of the main reasons for having a partner in exercise is the accountability factor. When there is no one keeping track of our exercise progress other than ourselves, it can be much easier to let a day go by where we fail to get to the gym, cheat on our diet, or cut corners on our own commitments. If there is someone meeting us at the gym, on the other hand, we are much less likely to cancel on that person for selfish reasons. Keeping count of calories lost or pounds shed and reporting your progress to another person also gives you an extra incentive to stay true to your goals. No one likes to disappoint their friends.
Exercising with another person also makes it easier to show up when you are in a bad mood or feeling particularly unmotivated. The large majority of people’s spirits are lifted by socializing and making progress with another person towards a mutual goal. When skies are looking grey, the company of another person along with the pumping of adrenaline is just what the doctor ordered to make them clear up.
Friends also provide great distractions while exercising. Peoples’ heads are typically full of negative thoughts as they work out, and they cannot wait for their session to be over. Chatting with another person about your personal lives, current events, or other subjects while on the treadmill allows for time to pass more quickly, often leading to longer exercise sessions that provide better results. The competition factor cannot be ruled out either. Keeping a little friendly, competitive spirit alive between friends while working out can be just what is needed to push you that extra mile in order to burn a couple of extra pounds each week.
If you find that getting friends to engage in healthy, physical activities with you is difficult, then take the focus off of the gym and move it towards sports. People love games, and with games such as basketball, soccer, golf, or tennis, comes the hidden benefit of exercise. Should you find it difficult to broach the subject, then use subtle hints to get friends engaged such as slipping them golf brochures and recommending times to get together for some fresh air. Exercise does not always have to be intense and strenuous. The goal should be to get out and be active as often as possible and making exercise a regular part of your social life makes this easy for anyone concerned about their health.