When it comes to exercise, we all have our own sociability level. We might be the type that likes to zone out and get on with it, using exercise time as me-time. Or we might greatly prefer exercising in a team.
If you like to be sociable when you exercise, new American research suggests that you may gain more benefits than those who exercise alone.
The study participants were medical students, who would be the first to admit that they are not known for their healthy lifestyles. A heavy workload, a stressful job and student financial worries made them an excellent example of people who can improve their health.
The study found that those exercising as a group felt that they were fitter, stronger and less stressed than those who exercised alone. The participants were allowed to choose whether they worked out alone or in a group, so no-one was stressed by being out of their comfort zone.
Your exercise friends may not be the same as your work friends, pub friends or college friends – although there’s no reason that they can’t come from those groups.
A good exercise friend wants to do the same workout as you do, and is available at roughly the same times. That way you can encourage and support each other. You can also shame each other into ensuring that you both turn up, because no-one likes to let down a friend.
Group workouts are a great place for finding new exercise buddies. This is especially so for progressive workouts. If you are all learning together, you get to share the pain and gain. Team sports are another great way to find friends. Most teams are always looking for new players and you should be warmly welcomed. (If not, find another team!)
The evidence looks promising. For better results, do your workout with an exercise friend.
well, if it works for med students (and we all remember them at uni...) then it can certainly do good for the rest of us. Part of the attraction of the gym is the social side, as long as people remember that it is workout, then chat - not the same time!