They say there’s strength in numbers, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to women and exercise. Whether you want to kick start a fitness routine or step yours up a notch, here’s why you should think about making exercise a social thing.
If you want to reach your health and fitness goals and have fun at the same time, here’s something to consider: Why not work out with friends? You can mix business (exercise) and pleasure (friendship) and get results — what’s not to love about that?
Motivation and support
Do you sometimes need a kick up the butt when it comes to exercise? There’s a simple solution for that: Enlist a workout buddy (or group). They will motivate and encourage you on those days when you’re tired, sore, or just not in the mood to break up a sweat. Plus, it’s so much easier to stick to an exercise regime when you have someone else by your side. Of course, it works both ways: When your pal isn’t feeling so chipper, it’s up to you to return the favour and get her to the gym/park/boxing class.
All the exercise benefits aside, working out with friends provides companionship. Exercising can be lonely (and boring) and most women are partial to a good chat, so working out with a pal can really make a difference. Now, this isn’t a licence to have a right old gossip session while you’re walking at a snail’s pace on the treadmill. To get an effective workout, you should be able to hold a conversation — but only just. But having a friend by your side while you’re pounding the elliptical or doing strength work will make the time fly by — and who knows, you might even have fun! If you want to step up the camaraderie and good times, try joining a group class or signing up for boot camp. Exercise doesn’t have to be all work and no play!
When it comes to exercise, there’s nothing better than a bit of healthy competition. Having a workout partner or group is a brilliant way to push yourself to do a little extra or go a little further. Let’s be honest: People love to compete with each other; it’s only natural. (Have you ever been on the treadmill and found yourself slyly “racing” the person next to you? Don’t worry, we all have.) So why not harness that instinct in your mission to get fitter, stronger and leaner? By trying to keep up with your friends, you will challenge yourself in ways that you just can’t when you’re on your own. The key is to try finding a workout buddy (or buddies) who is at the same level or, if you want a challenge, a little stronger or fitter than you are.
Hate letting people down? Want to get fit? If you answered yes to both of these questions, working out with friends is right up your alley. Once you commit to exercising with a friend or group, you’re more likely to stick to it. You know that debate you have with yourself about whether you should go and work out? Well, when you’ve promised a friend that you’ll meet them at the gym or beach for a sesh, making excuses is not an option. You can’t be “too tired” or “too busy” when someone is waiting for you. In that way, even if they don’t do anything, your workout pal will push you to lace up those runners. Guilt is a powerful motivator, so embrace it!
Workout partners are good for more than a chat: They can also come in handy as spotters. Whether you’re doing squat shoulder presses or working up a sweat on the rower, your buddy can keep an eye on your technique and correct you if it slips. When you’re ready to step up your workouts a notch — say, by switching to 10-kilogram dumbbells instead of 5 kilograms — your friend will be there to help you. All in all, workout buddies are great for ensuring that your workouts are both safe and challenging.
For many women, running group classes are a dream. Why? Because when more than one person is involved, the possibilities are endless. As such, you’re more likely to get a more well-rounded, tougher workout if you’re exercising in a group or even a pair. What do boxing, squat tosses, partner push-ups and crunch sequences have in common? They are all effective ways of blasting fat and toning up and they give you the added bonus of having someone to talk to.