Buddy up for better exercise: Why exercising with a friend can help

Does exercising with a friend help you work harder and ultimately burn more calories? We asked the experts.

A study by Virgin Active discovered that 64% of women who run, go to the gym or attend group exercise classes with friends will push themselves harder than if they went alone. The study found that during the average session, women who exercise with friends burn up to 236 calories, compared to 195 for girls who go it alone. Want to know why? Here are just a few reasons…

Beautiful women doing exercise in a spinning class at gym

‘When training with a friend or as part of a class, your competitive streak will help motivate you to train as hard as those around you, if not slightly harder,’ said personal trainer Laurel Alper. By pitting yourself against others, you’re giving yourself a benchmark to work towards, which can only be a good thing when you’re trying to get your fitness levels up.

Plan ahead
Making plans with friends to meet for exercise means you’re more likely to set a date/time and stick to it – you’re committed to doing it and you can’t chicken out as easily. ‘When you’ve made an arrangement with a friend, you’re less likely to renege on it as you won’t want to let each other down,’ says Laurel.

Social support
Training with a friend means you’re there to back each other up when you’re flagging. You’re also likely to have different strengths to each other, which means you can learn from one another.

‘Try taking it in turns choosing which exercises to do, as it will force you get out of your comfort zone and you could learn new techniques in the process,’ says Laurel.

Distraction techniques
Long gym workouts can seem boring when you’re on your own. Working out with a friend means you have someone to talk to. ‘Working out with friends can distract you from the pain of exercise’ says celebrity personal trainer Kelly Du Buisson. ‘Gossiping with friends can release endorphins that aid pain, plus you’ll probably push yourself harder without realizing it!’

Happy hormones
Friends not only motivate you but can also relate to how you’re feeling, making it something you can both laugh at. ‘Chatting and laughing with friends your body produces endorphins the happy hormones that boosts your mood’. *’Studies have shown that exercising also has the same effect, so surely by combining the two you can double the capacity for change ‘says Kelly.

Safe and effective exercise coupled with good technique are the vital ingredients to a successful workout so it’s important to know your limitations.

Remember to consult your doctor before carrying out specific stretches, particularly if you have existing medical problems. If you feel intense pain, be sure to seek medical attention.

*Source Livestrong