The Benefits of Working-Out and Getting Healthy with a Partner

If there was a way to double up your fitness productivity, would you be interested? How about a technique that will spice up your exercises and magically create workout time in your super busy schedule?

Well, this might sound too good to be true but it’s not – Several fitness enthusiasts are already leveraging on workout partners to achieve more than just average results. Working out with a partner, be it your friend, coworker, partner or spouse, can increase your overall health and wellness. And as Doctor Wayne Anderson, medical director of Take Shape for Life notes, we human beings are social animals whose interpersonal support is primal.

Positive emotional reinforcement from a partner

As a result, we are in constant need of positive reinforcement and inspiration. Needless to say, workout partners are a reliable source of motivation, accountability, support and in some cases healthy competition. They play the role of co-coach, teammate, rival and cheerleader all while working out. Workout partners can also encourage you to work out more often.

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Aberdeen found out that having a workout companion increases the number of exercises done in a session. The results were even more impressive if the partners had some connection and could support each other emotionally.

Dr. Pamela Rackow, the lead researcher asked half of her participants to find workout partners while the other half continued on its normal exercise routine by themselves. Conclusive results indicated that the half with workout partners was able to exercise more than the one that followed their normal exercise routine by themselves.

The research team was also interested in what made a good workout partner. Results indicated that people who exercised with partners offering encouragement and emotional support other than just practical support performed better. The first step in identifying an exercise companion is investigating their specific qualities as a partner and then determining if they can offer more than just physical support.

For example, if you go to the gym with someone because they are very knowledgeable in different routines but then goes off to do their own thing then you’d have a great workout but you’d be missing the encouragement factor. You would be better off finding someone to work and mutually cheer each other one and use a youtube video to give you a workout. You’d get a better workout from the extra emotional support.

Don’t just find a person to spot you, find someone to spot you and throw those pom poms in your face!

Perceived fitness level affects how hard you workout

Ever try to workout after someone tell you that you look out of shape. It feels like a weight is tied around your ankle. That’s emotional baggage that’s holding you down. But it also works the opposite way. A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences showed that when participants are put in a “high fit condition” group and told to exercise they exercised harder than those who were put in a “lower fit condition” group. Just being labeled as lower fitness (no according to actually fitness) can lower your ability to perform during a workout.

Even when instructed to keep their pulses at moderate levels, participants tended to mimic the exercising behavior of their partners in the same group as them. So if the person next to them was performing at a lower level, they would drop their intensity to match. Results from this study suggested that people looking to exercise more can benefit from aligning themselves with partners they consider to be more fit than themselves.

Exercising with a partner perceived to be of higher fitness promotes high-intensity workouts which are beneficial in the long run. When one partner works out, the other partner is more likely to as well.

Leading by example for a better workout and healthier lifestyle

Sociologists have found out that, partners like to be in agreement when it comes to making healthy decisions. This means a change in one partner’s behavior will help directly influence a change in the other partner.

This is the classic case of leading by example when in a partnership, either close friends or even spouse, one person starts making the changes they want to see for both parties. This doesn’t include hounding your friend or spouse to make the changes you do when you do.

Instead, making the changes and allowing them to participate helps them build the same habits. Ordering a healthy meal when eating out and allowing your partner to take a nibble and try it with you encourages them to make their own healthy choice next time without you telling them what to order.

Women are especially influenced by what their partners do especially when it concerns their health. As a result, partners who choose healthier paths in life are likely to influence their partners to follow suit. This suggests that we human beings will even more easily change our behaviors if our partners agree to do it with us.

Therefore, if you decide to hit the gym and get whipped into shape, you will also be influencing your partner to follow your footsteps. This is a perfect way to get a reluctant partner to workout with you. Remember it’s not going be a matter of telling them to change, it’s a matter of showing and leading by example and welcoming their healthy behavior as it comes.

Working out with your partner can increase your overall health and wellness in many ways. Getting a workout partner could be the link you are missing to achieve your fitness goals. When the time to get one comes, choose wisely. A very fit partner or just a very motivated and supportive one that will offer you emotional support will come in handy. And even if you do not have a spouse to do it with, a friend is equally as good.

 

References:

Workout Partner Sources

Workout partner encourages you to workout more – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161004081548.htm

When one partner works out, the partner is more likey to as well – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2091401

Perceived fitness level affects how hard you workout – https://www.psychologytoday.com/sites/default/files/attachments/34033/jssarticle.pdf

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