You’ve got your weekly happy hour friends, your daily-grind work friends, your know-you-best childhood friends, and even a couple of neighborhood friends (minus the cranky guy across the street). But how about exercise friends? Sure, you’ve gotten a little chatty with some of the regulars in your FIT36 class, but how about a dedicated exercise buddy? It’s true that sometimes a long solo run with just you and your earbuds is exactly what you need. However, there are some undeniably great benefits to working out with a friend.
- Accountability. Something about “united we stand, divided we eat fro-yo on the couch.” Being forced to schedule workouts ahead of time, and then knowing that you have someone counting on you to be there makes bailing on your workout way less likely.
- Learn something. You only know what you know, and you can always improve. A friend can introduce you to new moves you haven’t tried, or new trails you haven’t conquered. And you can let him know if his hand movements while running are more “T-Rex arms” than the preferred “lip to hip” movement.
- A little friendly competition never hurts. If your friend is just a little bit fitter or faster than you, you’re likely to work even harder to keep up with and even outperform her. If you always work out alone, that spirit of competition that pushes you to do more just isn’t there.
- Be safe. Having a workout companion means that one of you is always there as a spotter, a help in case of injury, or a second pair of eyes and ears on an unfamiliar trail.
- More to do. With a partner, your exercise options open up a little more. Think: tossing a medicine ball back and forth with lunges or sit-ups in between.
- It’s just more fun. Working out with your friend means you get to combine exercise time with catch-up time. Also, it makes exercising more enjoyable, and might even take your mind off of the fact that you’re only 1.5 miles into your run and your quads are already on fire. Selfish bonus: Health is contagious. If your friends are fit, you’re more likely to stay fit as well.
A little short on fitness-buff friends? Bring up the idea with a friendly face in your studio workout class – perhaps they’re in the market for a workout friend, as well. Another option is to look online. The decidedly non-sketchy meetup.com offers chances for folks of all interests to, well, meet up. Here’s the link to the Denver fitness page http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/co/denver/fitness/. You can find similar sites in any large city.
Once you’ve found a pal or two to exercise with on a regular basis, start slow, and then work into a solid routine. Before you know it, you’ll be helping each other, challenging each other, and teaching each other as you both become better athletes because of it.