I was basically born to love exercising. My mom was one of those ladies in the ‘80s who jumped on the aerobics train, decked out in brightly colored spandex shorts, striped leotards, and neon sweatbands. I remember being in the kids’ playroom while she took classes. One day the instructor didn’t show, and the other women in the room looked to my mom to hop in, no experience, no training. She did it and never looked back.
Thanks to my mom, I have always viewed fitness as a fun and enjoyable part of my daily routine. From playing soccer, teaching classes, and training for every sport under the sun, to working out and running alone, I’ve experienced it all. I see the value in being a solo-sweater, and I also see the positive and infectious power that comes when working out with someone else.
Some of the benefits of exercising with others are obvious—increased commitment, accountability, motivation, and the enjoyment of spending time with your friends, come to mind. Beyond that, there are a few benefits that can be even more impactful.
You Join a Community In the past five years I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of Crossfit facilities across the country, and one of the biggest reasons why they are so successful is they create a team within their Box, they build their own community. When you don’t show up someone will notice and when you reach a goal, you have a whole team celebrating with you! Who doesn’t like that?! Working out in groups can have great benefits not only for you physically but mentally, emotionally, and socially.
You Gain Perspective We are our own worst critics. I see this on a daily basis with my clients: They work so hard week after week, and don’t always readily see their progress. Having another person around who is able to notice and acknowledge your triumphs is amazing, because that partner can view your progress more objectively. When someone else points out your progress, you get a boost of self-esteem and confidence, and you’re more likely to continue moving forward.
You Can Celebrate the Wins (& Losses) Having someone to celebrate with when you reach your fitness goals or hit a mini-milestone is huge. On the flip side of that, when you fall short a partner can help you look at the bright side and learn from the experience, so that you can come back stronger and hit your goal next time. Failure never feels good, but a community, team, or buddy can help pick you up and motivate you to continue on.
You Get to Be You—Only Better! Groups allow for a diverse population of personalities, most are inclusive of competitive types, wallflowers, social butterflies, and more. You might not fall into one specific category all the time and that’s great—one day you may be competitive with others, the next focused on your own effort, but when the group pushes harder with a challenging exercise that you may not love, you’ll find that you keep going when you’d normally stop if you were on your own. That kind of positive peer pressure enhances the best parts of your personality and benefits the entire group.
You Have More Fun Sure, some days going out for a solo run is the only way for me to really clear my head. But I’ve found running with a friend or a group to be the best kind of therapy. Something unexplainable happens when you share your workout with others, you form a bond built on the trust that you’re all in this together. Plus, building positive relationships with others who enjoy the same workouts that you do is huge, because it replaces sedentary get-togethers with healthier free-time activities. As one of my girlfriends so expertly says, “It’s more enjoyable when you’re doing anything with someone else, so why not kill two birds with one stone by working out and having some fun!”
What do you love about working out with others? Let’s discuss in the comments!