workout buddy
workout buddy

Having A Workout Buddy Can Improve Your Health. Here's Why

Posted on October 5, 2022 by Henry Ford Health Staff

We all know that regular exercise is important, but many of us struggle to stay active on a consistent basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about half of Americans manage to get the recommended minimum of 30 minutes a day of physical activity.

Like any endeavor, exercise is often more fun when you’re not going it alone. “Working out with a buddy or joining a group workout gives you a sense of community,” says Jennifer Burnham, a performance athletic trainer at Henry Ford Health. “It also holds you accountable, making it harder to just blow off your planned workout.”

Why It Helps To Have An Exercise Partner

Accountability is the number one reason why a workout buddy can be so beneficial. When the alarm goes off for an early morning run, your first reaction is probably to hit snooze (perhaps repeatedly, until it’s too late to work out). But if you’ve made plans to meet someone for that run, chances are much better that you’ll actually get out of bed and gear up.

“Working out with a friend can also be a great way to keep you motivated,” says Burnham. “Often, your partner will push you harder than you’d push yourself.” You can even turn your workout into a friendly competition. Race each other or track how many push-ups you each can do. Winner takes you both out for coffee after your workout!

The social side of having an exercise partner certainly makes working out more fun, but it also comes with other health benefits. Having someone you can talk to regularly is good for your emotional well-being. During the course of an exercise session, you and your partner can help each other work through problems, vent about what’s happening at work and celebrate happy moments.

Group Workouts—Even Virtual Ones—Work Too

Exercising with a group has similar benefits to one-on-one workouts. “You can feed off the positive energy of a bigger group—whether it’s in an exercise class or playing on a team,” says Burnham. “And if you’re new to exercise, joining a class can help you get the guidance you need to work out safely and effectively.”

Research has shown that even virtual workout groups can have a positive effect on your drive and motivation. Your local gym or rec center might offer online classes or you can subscribe to an online program like Peloton or Nike Training Club.

Even if you don’t consider yourself athletic, joining a team activity is a great way to both get exercise and tap into a new social scene. Sports like tennis, volleyball and pickleball help you connect with others while you get a workout. “It’s also a great way to expand your social circle,” says Burnham, who’s met new friends through her local volleyball club. “Those people might introduce you to other groups or encourage you to try an activity you might not have tried on your own.” And, like a one-on-one partner, your group is likely to check in on you if you miss a session or stop coming.

How To Find And Connect With Fitness Partners

Ideally, you want your workout partner to be someone at a similar fitness level whose company you enjoy and who shares some of your same workout goals. If that person is already a friend, great. If not, cast a wider net.

Social media can be a valuable resource for locating like-minded exercise partners or group activities. You can also ask neighbors, coworkers or people you see at the gym if they’re interested in working out together.

In a pinch, even a dog will do the trick to keep you company and motivate you to get out the door. Chances are your dog will never miss an opportunity to go for a walk with you!

To find an athletic trainer at Henry Ford, visit or call 1-800-436-7936.

Jennifer Burnham is an athletic trainer who sees patients at the Henry Ford Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit.

Categories : MoveWell

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