Studies have shown that as many as one quarter of adults worldwide don’t get enough exercise. This is problematic for a number of reasons, including a lack of regular exercise being the leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases (like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity), negative impacts on mental health and eventually diminishing your overall quality of life. While many reasons are often cited for this lack of activity, from limited time in the week to no motivation, most of these issues can be overcome when we combine socialising with exercising.
Whether you are playing tennis or attending a group fitness class together, participating in exercise with other people can foster a healthy level of competition. This competition can then spur you on to run faster, complete a higher number of reps or keep going in a class when you may feel you’re at the limit of what you can achieve. Research has demonstrated that humans are able to perform at a significantly higher level in sporting activities when in group situations than they can when alone, due to this competition. One study showed participants were able to lift 11 percent more weight when in a competitive situation than when they lifted weights alone.
One of the most commonly cited reasons for not exercising is a lack of motivation. Having a friend exercising with you can easily dispel this concern as you don’t need your own internal motivation to put your running shoes on or force yourself to go to the gym, rather depending on someone else to help you get going. When we exercise with a buddy we can rely on them to push us to attend a sport or workout, but also to motivate each other once we are exercising, encouraging your friend to keep going or complementing their efforts as you go.
Combining socialising and exercise keeps you much more accountable than exercising alone. If you and a friend have agreed to attend classes together, or if you’re a member of a team, you’ll be actively letting other people down should you decide not to attend, pushing you to show up even when you don’t feel like it.
It has been found that one of the key reasons we may choose not to exercise is our desire to avoid any experience of discomfort. When we exercise with someone else, not only are we motivated by our encouragement of one another, but whether going for a brisk walk or playing a game of basketball it’s easy to distract ourselves from the discomfort of an increased heart rate, breathlessness and sore muscles by chatting and laughing together. This also helps bond us as we experience the discomfort of a workout together and the rush of endorphins gained from vigorous activity.
Beyond the elements of competition, motivation and accountability, working out with friends can, simply, be a lot of fun. The activity you choose doesn’t need to be boring and repetitive, instead you can go for a hike, play in a social sporting team, walk your dog or even participate in a fun run together, all with the added bonus of bonding time with your friends as you exercise.
The benefits of exercise are widely known however, it can overlooked how beneficial it can be to combine exercise with socialising, offering you a great opportunity to catch up, have fun with your friends and boost both your physical and mental health simultaneously.
To help support proper muscle & nerve function when you are out exercising with friends, we recommend a daily Nutra- Life Magnesium Complete Forte.
 Regina Guthold, PhD, Gretchen A Stevens, DSc, Leanne M Riley, MSc Prof Fiona C Bull, PhD Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1·9 million participants, VOLUME 6, ISSUE 10, PE1077-E1086, OCTOBER 01, 2018