Working Out With A Plus One

It’s no secret that not everyone enjoys working out. Whatever the fear or lack of motivation may be, it’s not rocket science to know that a little bit of physical activity each day will keep us happy and healthy. If you are one of the many people who struggle to find the motivation to exercise, that’s alright! But we all need to find ways to incorporate exercise into our lives even if it’s just slightly.

If you have found yourself in an exercise rut for some time, or tend to sit around talking about how you’ll start exercising or get back into the groove on Monday or heaven-forbid, in the New-Year, let me stop you right there. Firstly, we’re in April now, so three whole months have passed since the beginning of the year so that excuse is no longer valid. As for starting on Monday, be honest, how many times have you said that? Just because it hasn’t worked in the past, don’t give up yet, you just need a new plan, new goals and a work out partner might just be your answer.

Below are five reasons how working out with a partner or group will give you the motivation to stick to your exercise regime:

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1. You’ll actually stick to your workout plans

If even getting to the gym has been your weakness, try finding a friend or family member to work out with. When you plan to work out alone, it’s easy to cancel on yourself – bring in your friend, and it’s much harder to cancel on them. New York City Personal Training Manager, Steve Stonehouse at Crunch agrees. “No one wants to be Debbie Downer by bailing and letting down your friend,” he says. “After three or four weeks, once you’re in the habit, you won’t even think about cancelling on your friend.”

2. You’ll push each other to work harder

Find a partner who is at somewhat the same athletic ability to you, and find some similar work out goals. This way, you’ll both be able to push each other further and achieve greater results – it’s your inner healthy competitive nature coming out, don’t be scared of it! Michelle P. Maidenberg, PhD, MPH, clinical director of Westchester Group Works in Harrison, N.Y. says that working out with an exercise partner is a major motivation. “A buddy can motivate you to do one more set, continue when you feel like you have just had enough and want to give up, or when you are feeling hopeless,” she said. “They play the role of teammate, co-coach and cheerleader – all while working out.”

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3. You’re less likely to suffer from an injury with a buddy

So you’ve made it to the gym and the idea of an injury due to wrong technique is daunting; but what’s more intimidating is asking the gym instructor for help. Having that other person with you will help give you the confidence to approach the staff for the correct technique on any of the machines and by having your buddy around, you’re guaranteed to always have a spotter. A spotter will not only monitor and keep your technique in check, but again will provide you with that motivation and encouragement to do a few more reps and not give up so easily.

4. You’ll be encouraging yourselves and others to lead a healthier life

By setting good healthy habits, you can inspire those around you to do the same. Researchers from Harvard University have found that you can actually “catch” obesity from those around you as it spreads in a similar way to an infectious disease. The study found that ones’ risk of becoming obese actually increases by 57% when one of your friends are obese, 40% when it’s a sibling and 37% if it’s a spouse. Stonehouse agrees with those statistics and says “if you’re surrounded by people who are active and eat well, there’s a good chance you’re going to do the same.

5. Working out will be fun and something you will actually look forward to

While some people actually enjoy the work out part of exercise, for others it’s that rush of endorphins they get when they’ve completed their session. It might not happen straight away and you may never enjoy the ‘working out’ part, but soon enough you’ll find yourself in a great fitness habit and enjoy working out with your buddy due to their company. Together you can try different things so you don’t get bored in your newfound exercise habits. Changing up your routine constantly will not only keep you entertained, but it also produces better results! Having a support system makes working out seem achievable and fun says co-founder and medical director at Take Shape for Life, Wayne Anderson. “In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system,” he says. “We are social animals. We seek the company and positive reinforcement of others, especially when we are doing work.”

Finding a friend of family member to work out with is a successful form of motivation for physical activity. Whether you agree to meet once a week or five times a week, you’ll find your goals become within reach and you will see results sooner. Statistics show that it takes 21 days keep a habit, so don’t give up, stick to your plans, and motivate and encourage each other to live healthier lives. You’ll soon find your new fitness regime will encourage others around you as well and you’ll all be leading healthier lives for the better. Just remember to find someone of similar athletic capabilities, write down and form your goals together, and work as a team to achieve them. Very soon, you’ll find working out fun and something you’ll actually look forward to.

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