Working out as a team can bring you closer together…
Part of the reason that many people struggle to drum up motivation for regular exercise is because it can be such a solitary activity. Unless you attend a class or share specifics of your routine with friends, there is no one to hold you accountable for sticking to your fitness plan and no one to push you toward new challenges. With an exercise buddy, however, all of that changes and working out can become a lot more fun.
Working out as a team can bring you and your partner closer together. Exercise spurs the brain to produce chemicals that boost happiness, reduce stress and enhance libido. On another level, partner exercises can also build respect and strengthen your support network. Finally, when you exercise with your partner, you will be able to watch his form and make sure he is doing workout movements safely and vice versa.
If you like to dance, take your partner for a whirl. Sign up for salsa, swing, ballroom or other dance classes together to get your hearts pumping and strengthen your bond. Prefer more traditional workouts? No problem–sign up together for yoga classes or group aerobics. For strength, try tossing a medicine ball back and forth or doing rows and kickbacks with resistance tubing that you can stretch between the two of you. If you cherish your independence even in the fitness realm, try going to the gym together and doing separate exercises side by side or doing the same workout routine but at different paces. You could also challenge each other to a quick game of tag or one-on-one basketball.
Keep in mind that to yield the best results, the exercises you choose to do with your partner should encompass several fitness areas. The American Council on Exercise notes that strength training and flexibility are just as important in a complete routine as cardiovascular exercise, even if you are primarily working out for either weight loss or health maintenance. If you can, push your partner to work out a little bit longer with you. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends an absolute minimum of five 30-minute activity sessions per week, with two sessions incorporating some strength training.
Remember that form, precision and safety are important in any type of exercise. If your partner isn’t quite at your fitness level and can’t complete all the same exercises, don’t push him to pass his threshold. Instead, encourage him to meet you halfway by working at his own pace for part of the workout and matching your intensity for short intervals. That way, you’ll both stay safe and inspired to continue sharing your fitness time
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, feature stories and corporate content. Her expertise on food, cooking, nutrition and fitness information comes from years of in-depth study on those and other health topics.