7 Reasons Why Exercise is Better with a Buddy

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Working out regularly can be tough, which is probably why statistics show that 80 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. One of the best ways to increase your chances of not only meeting that recommendation, but becoming more heart healthy, is to find a friend to exercise with you.

Why having a workout buddy is better for you (and your friend)

1. Accountability. You and your workout buddy can hold each other accountable. If one of you gets unmotivated, the other can help re-motivate you. Guilt can be a big motivator – specifically in the context of not wanting to let your friend down when you decide to sleep in and your friend shows up to go running. That extra level of accountability increases your odds of success.

2. Fun. Yes, exercise can in fact be fun. If you have someone to laugh with as you work out, you’ll have more positive emotions related to working out and you’ll stop dreading it. Plus, if you’ve ever tried to play a game of tennis by yourself, you’ll know that having a partner makes things easier, too. 

3. Friendly competition. If you’re a little competitive, working out with a friend can make you push yourself more than if you were going solo. You’d hate to be seen as the one who could only lift 40 pounds when your friend could do 50. One caution: Don’t make it so competitive that your friend becomes your “frenemy.”

4. Safer. Depending on when and where you like to work out, having a friend with you can keep you safe. Running through the streets in the early morning hours can be a little dangerous. Trying to lift weights solo at the gym can lead to injuries. It’s a little safer having a trusted friend with you.

5. Variety. Even though you and your workout buddy are friends, you may have slightly different interests. Maybe your friend likes Zumba and it’s something you’ve never tried. Well, take up your friend’s interest and give Zumba a try. Then find an activity you enjoy and invite your friend to try something new as well. Changing things up can also support the goal of making exercise fun. 

6. A break from life. Sometimes we just want to have some interactions with people outside of work, or even away from the kiddos. Having a workout buddy can give you the opportunity to talk about personal interests, thoughts on politics, exciting news about you or your family, or even vent about something at work that’s weighing you down. Working out with a friend allows you to step away from the responsibilities of life and enjoy some time to work on your social well-being.

7. Someone to celebrate with. Maybe you and your workout buddy have set your sights on a 5k, or you’re both looking to lose a few pounds. Working together toward a common goal can help you both have something to look forward to celebrating. If we can enjoy our successes with others, it goes back to the idea of making things fun, and achieving a goal you and a friend have set your minds to can be a big motivator to keep going – and it’ll strengthen your friendship, too. 

 
Exercising should be fun, but it should also push you to be better and do better. As I work with the 11 participants competing in this year’s My Heart Challenge: Nonprofit Edition, sponsored by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, I encourage them to find a workout buddy – a friend, a spouse, a coworker, another participant – and then work together toward a common goal.

It’s something I’ve seen work on numerous occasions to achieve success and know it can work for you, too!