It’s not news that it can be really hard to find the motivation to exercise from time to time. And fitness instructors are not immune to the desires to skip a workout, let me just say!
A great way to stick with an exercise habit is to have an exercise partner, or workout buddy. Here are some of the reasons:
Suppose you plan to meet your friend Lauren for a walk every Tuesday evening at 6. You don’t want to leave Lauren hanging, do you? She’s expecting you to be there, and you’ll be helping her stick to her exercise routine. In turn, she’ll be helping you.
Doing a workout with a friend can help your session feel more like an enjoyable hang-out and less like something you’re doing because you “have to.”
That walk with Lauren will most likely be much more focused on catching up and, say, chatting about the latest movie you watched than paying attention to the time or the mileage. Before you know it, mission accomplished!
Exercising with someone else can inject just enough competition into the session to inspire you to push a little harder, go a little longer, bike/run/walk a little farther. It plays on what can be our natural inclination to compare ourselves and try to be the best.
Along those same lines, a workout buddy can be a great cheerleader. He or she can encourage you along the way, whether your goal is to reach a certain mileage level or advance to the next-heavier dumbbell.
It can be daunting to try a new type of exercise. Feel like you have two left feet and would look silly in Zumba? Go with a friend and you can feel goofy together.
You can try different types of exercise and different moves when you have a partner. Tennis doesn’t work so well with one player, for example. And your friend might know of new moves that you haven’t tried, increasing your fitness repertoire.
So there are many advantages to working out with someone else. But what should you look for in a workout buddy?
- Someone you get along well with
- Someone whose level of fitness is comparable to yours, so you’re mostly on the same page in terms of the type and intensity of exercise you’re doing
- Someone you feel comfortable sharing your goals with
- Someone you can count on to share your commitment
- Someone with whom you share a vested interest in a healthy future
On that note, my husband and I exercise together from time to time. We used to work together and start our days at the company gym. Sometimes we go for walks; often we do a lot of bicycling together. And now, our schedules occasionally coincide so we can go to the gym together.
When that happens, I find myself feeling really happy. It’s great to look over at a nearby treadmill and see him there. And the times that we’ve done partner exercises, like tossing a medicine ball back and forth, I can’t control the goofy grin that spreads across my face. If I had to explain it, I guess I’d say that I’m proud to see us both making an effort to be healthy, for today and later in life. We have a vested interest in the other’s well-being. It’s inspiring — and super motivating.