True, the recent pandemic may have forced us all to do many things all on our own. With social distancing, solo was the way to go. But now that the pandemic is easing up, it’s time that you consider getting a regular exercise partner to work out with.
It Boosts Your Commitment
Deciding to start exercising is one thing, especially when the New Year starts. But statistically, half of those who begin to work out as their New Year’s resolution quit the whole thing by summer time. Some gyms even experience a huge 90% no-show rate 3 months after January. Even top gyms like Life Time Fitness experience this drop.
But when you have an exercise partner, perhaps it’s not that easy. Many studies confirm this, showing that people who work out with a friend tend to keep at it for longer, compared to if they just hack it on their own.
It’s a lot more difficult to disappoint a friend, especially one whom you admire or respect. You can also try making your secret crush your exercise partner—quitting will then mean the likely dashing of your romantic hopes!
With a Friend, You’re Less Likely to Get Bored
Boredom is a huge problem with workouts, especially when you keep doing the same things. But when you have a friend with you, it’s not as much of a problem. Things simply get less boring when done with friends, like playing games, going to a club, or hiking up a mountain.
Studies even indicate that when you have a friend with you and you’re both working out, you’re even more likely to increase the amount of exercise you do. It’s simply better when you have someone with you ready to provide some emotional support (or some lighthearted taunting) to keep you going.
You’re Not as Stressed
It’s always a good idea to seek the companionship of family and friends—people whom you trust and who care for you—when you’re in a stressful situation. They provide the emotional support you need. They may give you some bits of advice (that’s part of the ritual), and while these tips may not often be all that helpful, the fact that they’re with you is often all the support you need.
With workouts, that’s true as well. One study has already indicated this, and it was published in the November 2017 edition of the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. The study showed that those who worked out with their partner reported a reduction of perceived stress levels by 26.2%. That adds to the mood-enhancing effect that you normally get from exercising.
Another study, this time published in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, reported that inferior athletes made better gains than their better teammates when they worked out as a team. According to the American Psychological Association, this is the “Kohler effect”. It refers to how motivation increases among individuals when they work as a group.
People are simply competitive, or perhaps they see one another as setting a standard they can also meet. The same effect has been seen among adults doing strength exercises together. They end up lifting heavier weights or holding a plank position for a longer time. Basically, the thinking is this: If he can do 10 reps of the exercise, then I can do that too!
You’re More Likely to Meet Your Fitness Goals
Another study involved a group of women who were trying to lose weight, and they all enlisted in a weight loss program that included physical activity, dietary changes, and even counseling sessions. The women who went through the entire program did lose weight, when they tried it individually. But they lost more weight when they worked as a group and supported one another.
Partners Can Increase Safety
This is pretty obvious, when you think about it. It’s why you need a partner to spot you and help when you have trouble lifting weights. You can’t go lifting more challenging weights without a spotter to back you up. The spotter keeps you safe and this reduces the risk of injury.
Even in other exercise situations, a partner can make things safer. When you’re running outdoors, your partner may warn you about obstacles and dangers that you may not have noticed. In the gym, it may just a simple matter of warning you that you’re about to trip over some weights you didn’t see.
It May Even Extend Your Life
One large-scale and long-term study involved about 9,000 participants, and were observed over a period of 25 years. The finding was that those who people who were into group sports with more social interactions lived a few years longer on average, than those who did solo sports. This means that those who played soccer, basketball, or even tennis regularly lived longer than the solo joggers and cyclists.
All these reasons emphasize one truth: get a workout partner, and things get better for you—and for your partner too.