It is undisputed – you want to engage in regular exercise for your target weight goals, your body’s health, your mental health. You know you feel better when you engage in some form of physical activity. And yet, even though we know and understand the many benefits to working out, sometimes finding the motivation to work out can be a challenge – for some more than others. You’re busy, you’ve been working all day and there’s too much at home to get done that’s a bigger priority, you’re too tired, and the list goes on. Truth is, there is always a reason not to do something, and exercising can make the top of that list. So how do we ensure we are getting in our oh so important exercise, motivating ourselves to make sure it happens?
The key to motivating yourself to engage in exercise is to find what motivates you to keep it a regular part of your schedule:
- Ensure it’s a form of exercise you enjoy, then it won’t be a ‘chore’, but fun!
- Pump up the volume! If music gets you going, use it!
- Make it routine: having a set time of day or week for your cardio kick boxing class or evening walk will habituate yourself and your body, and will make that exercise seem like just another part of your day, rather than an optional activity.
- And last but not least, exercise with a friend. Enlisting a workout buddy is one of the most important things you can do for your fitness routine. A longtime friend, a neighbor, a pal from the gym, your partner, even your dog, are all incredible motivators when it comes to sweating it out. In an enlightening study done by the University of Virginia, participants were given a weighted backpack and were brought to a trailhead at the bottom of the hill; some alone, and some with a friend. They were then asked to rate the slope of the trail ahead. Those who were with a friend guessed that the trail would be less challenging than those who were alone, and, those who were with a friend they had known a long time guessed that the trail would be even less challenging. Applying this lesson to all workouts, it would seem that simply being with that friend makes the workout seem less daunting!
But making a work out seem like less of a challenge isn’t the only reason to do it with a buddy. Here are our top 7 reasons you should exercise with a friend:
- Fun Factor: As friends make life more fun, it makes all the more sense they would do the same for your workout. A little light-hearted good humour will make all the difference as you’re figuring out which way to move your butt in Zumba class.
- Friendly Competition: Even if you don’t consider yourself competitive, you’d be surprised how having a buddy at the gym can encourage you to go farther. When you’re doing your reps and are feeling a little breathless on your last set, look over at your friend sweating away, with no sign of slowing down. We dare you to see if you don’t get that extra push to keep going!
- Health Multitasking: Nothing like some good conversation (hopefully a bit breathless since your heart rate will be up!) to help the exercise time just sail by. And more than just a motivator to get you exercising, having that friend there as a source of support for a venting session, or just for a general camaraderie catch up, can lessen stress levels and elevate feel good hormones, all contributing to overall good health.
- Braver together: When exercising alone, its easy to get into a routine that can old, fast. Whether trying a new trail in your nearby National Park, that new martial arts fusion class the gym is offering, or making the investment in a fitness retreat like Mountain Trek, the encouragement and support you will get in trying it together will make you all the more brave to expand your exercise horizons. And who knows – as you experiment you may discover a new exercise you both enjoy to add to your exercise repertoire!
- Safer together: When going for a hike in the woods, or for a late night or early morning jog, it’s always safer to have a partner. Knock on wood, should someone sustain injury, you’ve got the able body there for first aid or to get help.
- Birds of a feather, exercise together: Like attracts like when it comes to pals, so if you have active friends, chances are you’ll be active too. Having fit friends also encourages you to get out there more often because they’ll be all the more likely to call you up and initiate that next outing. Their success will also become your success, and vice versa. When you see fitness goals set and attained, it makes you not only feel victorious with and for your friend, but allows you to feel like your fitness goals are more possible than ever.
- Accountability: Having a fitness date is like scheduling an appointment, and you’re far less likely to skip out on your exercise if someone is there to hold you to it. You won’t want to disappoint them by being a no-show. If your workout buddy is your dog, and you’ve already mentioned a walk, they are sure to hold you to it! By eliminating the ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ of your workout, you are eliminating any possible waffling about doing it, and are lining yourself up for success.
If you don’t currently work out with anyone, and are wondering who you could get as your exercise pal, try asking your friends – you never know who is looking to kick start their fitness alongside you, or who goes for a daily morning jog that you didn’t know about.
Try using several of your motivational fitness tools in one swoop; like setting a weekly time for your hike with your brother, or last one to finish 100 sit ups buys the post-workout brunch this morning!
Getting in your exercise, achieving weight loss goals, maintaining physical and mental health, while bonding and spending quality time with friends? Sounds like a win-win-win-win to me![fbcomments]