Works Out Well With Others: Build bonds while you build muscle / by Brittney Hogan

Conscious eating and an active lifestyle are obviously vital, but having and building close bonds are just as important aspects of wellness. Human's are social creatures by nature (we are so social that we made our computers social), so is it any surprise that exercising with a partner, or a pack ,would benefit us as much today as it would have a few thousand years ago?

Over 12 Harvard University Studies showed that “people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” In one study, in which “309,000 people were examined, it was found that a lack of strong relationships even increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%, an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity”. Exercising with the people in your life is a great way to stay healthy, both physically and socially.

 

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It can be difficult to see the benefit of exercising with others if you are more inclined to work out as a lone wolf, but there are many benefits to working out with family and friends. Here are our top 3 reasons to buddy up for your next exercise endeavour.

 

 

1) Training partners will hold you accountable

Like coaches, having someone else run beside you will encourage you to push past the uncomfortable stress of those first few miles, and keep you on track to that sweet runner's high at the end of your work out. Whether it's with a work friend or a significant other, a recent study published by the Society of Behavioral Medicine shows that exercising with a partner, or partners, can double your performance results. Having a partner can also keep you committed to your long term fitness goals. The Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University surveyed married couples and found that those who joined health clubs and worked out together had a drop out rate of 6.3%, verses their counterparts who worked out separately and had a whopping 43% drop out rate.

With that said, it is important not to compete with whoever you are running, lifting or stretching with. The point of working out with another person is to bring out your best, not to trample their best. A great way to avoid competition is to start out with an exercise neither one of you has ever tried before. You will have a good laugh in the learning process, and shed self consciousness early on in the fitness regiment.

 

2) Expand your work out

Working out with different people in your life will introduce you to new workouts. Try going to your brother's crossfit gym or aerial yoga with your girlfriend at her favorite studio. The best part is most gyms will give you the first class for free to encourage new membership.

If you are a 50 meter dash kind of runner, go for an after dinner walk with your kids or younger siblings. The same routine everyday does not make you more fit and the change of pace is a great way to exercise while giving your body a rest. Plus you can help teach the young cubs in your active lifestyle pack about the benefits of daily exercise by being a part of their own fitness journey. Kids that are encouraged to have lots of daily movement starting as young as toddlers are at a much lower risk of becoming obese and developing associated heath problems.

 

3) Working out actually strengthens bonds

When you exercise with others, social bonds that already exist will strengthen as you begin to associate your fitness partners with memories of positive encouragement, goal success and endorphins.

Working out with friends builds trust and working out with significant others can even make gains in the romance department.

Between work, life, soccer practice, and travelling, it can be more difficult to plan family fun when everyone is being pulled in different directions, but going for walks with the kids in your life is actually a great excuse to bond. Low intensity hikes in your neighborhood also give you the opportunity to see what kids and young adults are naturally interested in. You may even find yourself taking on some childlike wonder, which is as good for the soul as a walk is for the glutes.

The benefit of being a part of #TeamVirago is that you can get updates about fitness events in your area and know that you have teammates all over the world rooting for you to succeed.