Working out with a buddy can boost motivation and make exercise more fun. If you are looking for new ways to shake up your routine, getting a partner may be just the spark you need.
The benefits of a buddy
Working out with a partner brings a social aspect to exercise. For many people this is a bonus and changes the way exercise feels. Instead of a chore it becomes an opportunity to connect and engage. Exercise approached this way offers not only physical benefits but also emotional ones.
The physical benefits include:
- Improved health outcomes: exercise is one of the best things we can do to improve health in the short and long-term.
- Improved stamina and strength: studies show that when you work out with a buddy you challenge yourself more and work harder. In time, that translates to more strength, stamina and skill.
The emotional benefits include:
- Increased feelings of belonging and connection: doing hard work together makes it less stressful and more fun. You’ll also feel more bonded and supported.
- Increased support and accountability: your workout partner understands your pain and celebrates your success. Chances are you won’t want to let this person down, so you’re more likely to show up for exercise instead of slack off. This boosts confidence in your ability to keep the fitness promises you make. You’ll stand taller as you see yourself following through more consistently.
Get out of a rut
Check in with your workout partner for new ideas. When you collaborate on routines you are more likely to try fitness challenges. Have you always wanted to try a triathlon? You don’t have to train or compete alone when you have a workout partner. Variety can be on an even smaller scale. Working out with a buddy may lead you on a new trail or bike path. The idea is to be curious and plan about fitness challenges you can conquer together. Another bonus of a buddy – safety. Explore new neighborhoods or feel secure knowing someone can get help if you are injured.
How to choose your buddy
There are lots of things to think about like compatibility in terms of fitness level, accessibility, temperament and schedule. When choosing, decide what is most important for you. For example, does it matter that your buddy lives within 5 miles of your home or work? Does it matter that she talks a little or a lot? Is he emotionally healthy enough to support your fitness goals in a way that is helpful for you? Having the right workout partner will have a big impact on your progress. To get the best benefit decide what traits are important for you and make your choice on that basis.