Although walking or doing other solo workouts may be more convenient, if the weather turns bad, or another activity looks more attractive, it is easy to skip your regular exercise. However, add a buddy and the social support alone helps encourage physical activity. That's because it helps the activity become more personalized.
Dr. Larry Cheskin of Johns Hopkins Medicine says, "Exercising with a friend comes with an advantage: You'll be more likely to do it. Also, this arrangement can provide distraction and good company for what might be otherwise a more boring task. And depending on the relationship and the level of exercise ability of you and your friend, there can also be the added benefits of support, encouragement and perhaps a little healthy competition!"
First, select someone that you want to spend time with and who has a similar schedule. Share your fitness goals with each other and commit to a certain number of workout sessions per week.
Include a back-up plan for yourself when your friend can't participate, such as walking alone while talking by cell or exercising to a DVD or video at home.
And try these fun and unique ways to buddy up, get fit and enjoy your workouts together.
Rock climbing helps forge deep bonds of friendship, as you can watch and cheer on your partner to the top, as well as to literally be there to support your buddy with ropes to guard against falls. Look for an outdoor rock climbing class in your area or join an indoor climbing gym.
While you don't need a buddy to pedal your way to prime shape, it can make for a better -- and safer -- exercise experience. Plan varied routes through your city together and, if you're more adventurous, set off for a nearby town. A buddy going along also helps make a long ride go quickly, as you can share observations of your physical aspects of the ride, muse on the scenery, or discuss other topics. And if anything happens, such as a spill or another accident, your friend is right on hand.
Taking a dance class together helps make buddy workouts seem more like a social experiment than a drag. And if you get embarrassed as you're learning new dance moves, laughing and staying relaxed can help to motivate you and your exercise partner as you perfect the routines.
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