The fitness buddy workout

Aug 17, 2009 at 12:24 p.m. ET

Is your favorite way to combat stress recruiting your best friend to meet you for a double latte and scone as a prelude to an afternoon of shopping? Though an effective way to boost your spirits, it probably isn't doing your thighs or wallet any favors. Friendly social interaction is certainly needed for mental health, but it can also be a boon for your physical fitness when you spend time sweating together instead of sipping coffee and nibbling a dessert. Fitness professional Sabrena Merrill, MS, shares the benefits of working out with a buddy and a few partner exercises to get you started.

Workout Partners

Benefits of a fitness buddy

According to Sabrena Merrill, MS, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), working out with a buddy can keep you committed to your fitness.

"Working out with a buddy is exceptionally motivating, especially for new exercisers who are trying to make regular workouts a habit," says Merrill. "The thought of having a partner to workout with (who will go through the same discomforts as well as feelings of accomplishment with you) makes exercising something to look forward to. Scheduling a standing workout appointment with a partner motivates you to not miss the workout because you have another person holding you accountable."

In addition to being a source of fitness motivation, working out with a partner is beneficial for both physical and mental health. Merrill explains, "In our busy, stress-filled lives, it is sometimes difficult to incorporate friendly social interaction into our schedule. Working out with a friend allows us to multi-task by boosting our 'friend time' with others while simultaneously getting a workout."

Having a workout buddy can even boost your fitness more than working out alone. "Working out with a partner actually motivates each person to work a little harder or longer than they normally would alone. Social interaction during exercise provides a distraction of sorts that allows the mind to focus on the pleasure of being with a friend and tune out the discomforts of exercise," adds Merrill.

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