It can be difficult to stay on track with your fitness goals, especially if you’re working out alone. Want to be more successful on your mission? Bring a partner along and experience firsthand the world of difference a workout buddy can make.
Friends motivate and hold you accountable
Let’s face it, sticking to a routine can be tough. Setting goals on your fitness journey can help you stay on track, but adding a workout buddy to the mix can help you stay accountable. This means showing up not only for yourself but also for your partner. It’s a surefire way to put an end to those "maybe not today" vibes and adopt a "you've got this" mentality.
Exercising in groups can also boost your motivation. Research shows that the actions and behaviors of others can have a positive effect on our own. In a study published in the Journal of Social Sciences, researchers found that when exercising in a group, individuals mimic the exercise behavior of their partner.1
Buddies turn hobbies into habits
When you exercise with a partner or group, it becomes more habitual. Friends can help signify it’s time to exercise and also serve as a reward for being active - that’s a win-win in our books. Plus, when a behavior becomes a habit, you use less energy forcing or convincing yourself to do it.
Group exercise is fun
Energy feeds on energy, and the high energy of group exercise classes or working out in pairs can make the environment a fun and engaging place to be. It can be a refreshing change to exercising alone, adding a welcome social aspect to your fitness regime.
Fun is also a key component to showing up consistently on your fitness journey. It’s simple: if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll stick with it. Exercising alongside other people can bring that fun element to an otherwise challenging activity. It could be the workout mood boost you didn’t know you needed.
Emotional support and encouragement
Pushing your limits and discovering yourself is a tough, and sometimes daunting aspect of fitness. Having an accountability buddy alongside you to share in your successes and setbacks can be a comfort.
Some research even shows that joining an exercise group or sports club can protect against depression.2 The emotional support provided by an exercise partner or group can also reduce anxiety and stress levels, and help you stay on track to reach your fitness goals.
A study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association discovered that working out in a group could reduce stress by 26% compared to people who worked out alone. Although individuals who went the solo route were found to put in more effort, they experienced no significant improvement in their stress levels and a limited improvement in their quality of life.3
Friendly competition is motivating
When it comes to long-term fitness success, it’s a game of you vs. you. But if you’re looking for an extra boost of motivation, a little dose of competitive exercise could be just what you need to smash a target or hit a new PB.
In fact, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that if you really want to get motivated to exercise, competition is far more effective than friendly support.4 When we place ourselves in a competitive environment, everybody raises the bar, so if others push harder, you probably will too. Overall, the study found that competition was the biggest motivating factor to exercise.
We’re all striving to be fitter, stronger, and healthier, and you shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you need more accountability in the day-to-day fitness grind, want a boost of motivation to keep at it, or are simply looking to sprinkle in a bit more fun, exercising as part of a group or with a partner could be the missing link.
Not sure where to start? Challenge your buddies to a friendly fitness competition and earn awesome rewards with Freeletics referrals. It’s time to level up your success.
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- Plante, T, G et al. (2010) Effects of Perceived Fitness Level of Exercise Partner on Intensity of Exertion. Journal of Social Sciences: 6(1), pp 50-54.
- Stevens, M et al. (2021). Better together: How group-based physical activity protects against depression. Social Science and Medicine: 286.
- Yorks, D, M et al. (2017). Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association: 117(11): e17.
- Zhang, J et al. (2016). Support or competition? How online social networks increase physical activity: A randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine Reports: 4.