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Benefits of a Workout Buddy!

Switch-up your routine and workout with a buddy/group to support your fitness goals. The ability to move your body is a wonderful thing, embrace it and encourage your friends to as well!

By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.

The attitude of having a workout be something for you to “just get done” needs to be changed.  Maybe it’s time to switch-up your routine and workout with a buddy/group to support your fitness goals.  The ability to move your body is a wonderful thing, embrace it and encourage your friends to as well!  

Share the benefits of physical activity

Talking to friends and family about the benefits of physical activity is an easy first step to get those around you excited about incorporating fitness into their lifestyle.  These benefits include promoting heart health, reduced risk of certain diseases and improved mental health.1 Some research even suggests that exercise can be a good way to prevent depression!1,2 

Next step?  Start thinking about your goals.

Even if your goals are not the same as your workout buddy, sharing them with each other helps keep you accountable and motivated to achieve them.

Your goal may be simply to start an exercise regime – and that’s perfectly fine!  Some things to think about are:

  • How often do you want to exercise?
  • What fitness classes do you want to participate in?
  • What are some of the barriers that might prevent you from sticking to your fitness regime?  How will you overcome these?
  • Are there any specific fitness goals you’d like to think about achieving in the future?  For example, run a marathon, lose body fat, build muscle etc.

If you begin thinking that you’d like to have a specific fitness goal, make them SMART.3

SMART goals are3:

Specific – Turn your goal into a statement (i.e. I will run a 10 km run in May)

Measurable – How will you identify when the goal is achieved? (i.e. When I cross the finish line and get a medal!)

Attainable – Make the goal something that isn’t too easy, but still realistic to attain in a particular period of time.  

Relevant – do you want to achieve the goal? (i.e. do you enjoy running?  Does it excite you to think you could achieve running 10k?)

Timely – know the timeline for when this goal will be achieved (i.e. race day!)

Now to start your fitness regime with a buddy!  Research shows that people feel better and stick to fitness regimes if they work out with others.1 

Group Exercise

If you don’t have a friend who wants to work out with you or may not have the same schedule, don’t fret!  Meet new fitness buddies at a group exercise class.  Group exercise is very popular and includes classes such as aerobics, Zumba, weight lifting classes, aquafit, pilates, yoga, cross-fit, indoor spinning and boot camps.4 They tend to be extremely motivational as you have an enthusiastic teacher encouraging you – and a group of people around you that are working hard to achieve their goals as well.  The beauty of group exercise is you can modify the workout depending on how you are feeling on a specific day.  You don’t need to compete with those around you, simply use them for encouragement!Also, try to switch up the classes or fitness routines that you take.  Some people complain that they get “bored” exercising, so adding a variety of activities you participate in can help reduce the chance that you’ll give up on your routine alltogether.1.4

Some other options for exercising with others are:

  • Join a running/walking group in your local area
  • Coordinate a fitness class at your lunch hour at work
  • Play recreational sports (i.e. tennis, hockey, soccer)

Fitness at Work!

Since we are at work for much of our day, it offers a great environment for encouraging colleagues to get active.  Many companies are now promoting group team building retreats that get staff members to try new activities like hiking or rock climbing.  Also, having employees wear pedometers to track their steps is another great way to promote fitness.  Suggesting that you have an annual work run or bike ride can also bring everyone in the business together in the community with a focus on fitness!5

References:

  1. DeAngelis, T. (2002). If you do one thing, make it exercise. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug02/exercise.aspx
  2. MayoClinic. (2016). Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
  3. American Council on Exercise. (2016). A SMART Guide to Goal Setting. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from  http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3575/a-smart-guide-to-goal-setting/
  4. Dolan, Shawn. (2012). Benefits of Group Exercise. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from https://www.acsm.org/public-information/articles/2012/01/20/benefits-of-group-exercise 
  5. Fit for Work Team. (2015). Promoting Fitness in the Workplace for Improved Health and Wellbeing. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://fitforwork.org/blog/promoting-fitness-in-the-workplace-for-improved-health-and-wellbeing/

 

 

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