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The studies are in and the experts agree: Finding a workout buddy or a band of fellow fitness fans is good for your mind and body and, sometimes, your love life.
Did you know that having a workout partner not only makes you healthier, it can help you find a job, get more motivated and create stronger family bonds? Below, you can read up on new studies that show the benefits of partnering up, and Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Nikki Kimbrough shares a few true-life tales from her boot camp classes.*
Roll over the images below to find out all the perks that come with partnering up:
A Simple Network
Perk: As Kimbrough explains, a fitness class is the perfect place to network, because you’re not trying to schmooze.
True story: “People just start talking about work and one thing leads to another,” she says. “Take Vickie, a public relations manager, and Ben, a marketing exec. Vickie’s company needed an outside vendor to do some market research and she mentioned it during a water break. Ben explained how his company had handled a similar situation and she asked if he’d send over a proposal. Boom! New business.”
More Partners, More Motivation
Perk: Larger workout groups can be even better for morale. Find your healthy circle in a fitness class or a personal training group.
Study: In a recent study at Michigan State University, 58 physically active women were divided into three groups. In the first group, each woman worked out alone. In the second, each had a virtual exercise partner. The third group worked out as a team along with a virtual partner. The group that worked out as a team exercised 11 minutes longer than the group that exercised alone, and two minutes longer than the group that exercised only with a virtual partner.
Better Family Bonds
Perk: Exercising with a family member gives you a healthy way to spend time together—versus just shopping, eating or getting drinks.
Study: “One of my clients, Melissa, had really started losing weight and her mom noticed—and joined the class,” Kimbrough recalls. “I know she and her mom had had problems in the past, but boot camp gave them something healthy to bond over. And now you can just see how close they are.”
Perk: Having a fitness partner who is in better shape than yourself can inspire you to boost your own performance.
Study: Researchers at Union College conducted a series of experiments that included younger and older participants riding reality-enhanced “cybercycles” alongside virtual and real partners who were quicker and had more endurance. The conclusions were consistent: Whether it was a virtual partner or a real one, most participants stepped up their game and pushed a bit harder to keep up.
Perk: Longtime couples and new lovers can keep each other on track and in shape.
Study: Couples who start a fitness program together are more likely to stick with it, according to a study out of Indiana University Bloomington. The study’s final results showed that only 8% of the participants who worked out with their spouses quit, compared with half of those who exercised independently.
*Client names have been changed.