Benefits of Socially-Distanced Workout Buddies
Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Photography: Taryn Emerick | Posted In: Move | July 2020
How working out with a friend or family member can help you maintain your fitness goals and keep you motivated when lacing up your running shoes seems tough.
For those with packed professional and personal schedules, working out alone can serve as a rare time to decompress, think and even drop into a meditative state. Less conversation can mean less distraction, and therefore greater concentration on what’s going on with your body. Other benefits to sweating solo include being more flexible with the time and place. Sometimes the ability to be spontaneous can serve you better if you’re trying to squeeze in a session. However, if accountability, motivation or just plain fun is important to you, this isn’t your best option. Whether it’s via Zoom or in a small class, consider taking on a buddy.
There are numerous reasons to find someone who is willing to work out with you in a responsible way (i.e., wearing a mask and observing proper protocols). In fact, experts say this might be the best option during times of high stress. A 2016 study published by University of Aberdeen in ScienceDaily reports, “a new exercise companion increased the amount of exercise people took. This was increased even more when the new partner was emotionally supportive.” An exercise partner that you enjoy spending time with can also bolster inspiration, creativity and a healthy competitive spirit that can push you harder.
Working out in a group (of five or less) offers slightly different perks from working out with just one partner. Having an instructor who puts together a plan is one of the biggest benefits. Instructors take the work out of a workout. Plus, they can safely take participants through progressions. This exposes beginners to advanced practitioners, which aids with motivation. The social component of group classes is notable as well. Oftentimes, people who struggle through a tough workout form strong friendships that can go beyond the gym.
How to Pick a Partner
Same schedules: Because accountability is one of the greatest benefits of working out with a partner, finding someone with a similar schedule is crucial to making the relationship work. If either party is constantly cancelling, it can work against you and leave you frustrated.
Attitude: Whether you’re a glass half full person or not, it’s important to enjoy the temperament of your partner. You don’t want to spend your time with someone who puts you in a negative state of mind.
Similar Goals: You don’t have to share the exact same goals, but it helps to both be working on similar skills or with similar equipment. This will maximize your time spent together.
Different strengths: While your goals might be similar, it helps to train with someone who has different strengths because then you can learn from them and be inspired.
Please visit our members only page for a complete list of small group classes.