We all need a bit of support (or a lot) now and then. Many people know from experience, but research also shows that having a workout partner helps you maintain exercise and reach your goals.
Find the Right Workout Partner
Choose your workout partner wisely. Find someone who shares your goal to be active, first and foremost! Someone who is reliable and isn’t afraid to get on your case a little to stick with it. You don’t have to be in the same physical condition, but need someone who will match, or be higher in motivation. Your friend that will give you a pass every day because she doesn’t want to move either isn’t going to get the job done. Include that friend as a third, if you want, but don’t rely on her. In fact, a group is best – when one person can’t make it, there’s always someone doing it!
Be a Good Partner
If you want to reach your goals, being a partner is a two-way street, you know. Be reliable – your partner carved out time in her schedule for you, after all! Be gracious if she tries to nudge you into exercising, even when you don’t want to do it. Remind yourself often why you wanted a partner in the first place. Don’t give her a pass without question if she tries to wiggle out of it, either.
Your Performance will Improve
Having a partner can help you be consistent, which will help you get in better shape. Sounds logical, right? Did you know, there’s another way having a partner or group improves your performance? An effect called “social facilitation” can make you push yourself just a bit harder than if you were alone. A clear example of this is when I’ve participated in 5K races. My performance is always better than when I’m just walking/jogging alone. I often surprise myself! There are a few possible reasons I do better:
- there’s an “audience” (I know they aren’t focusing on me, but that’s what research says works)
- I think “I can do this” when I see so many “regular” people like me doing it too
- It keeps my interest
- I enjoy the excitement
Where to Find Workout Partners
Not sure who to ask? There are resources all over the place these days to help find someone to pair up with, or a group. You can ask around locally, for example a local gym may know people looking for a buddy. There is always the internet too for finding someone to exercise with!