Why you need a workout buddy

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Recent studies show that exercising in a group improves quality of life and reduces stress more than when you do so alone.

The Vitality Open has allowed South Africans a taste of what rewards lie in fitness and exercise.

If you’ve been hitting the track harder in the 10-week period to get those handy rewards – here’s some great advice: the key to training is doing it with someone else.

“Behavioural research shows we’re all heavily influenced by the behaviours and characteristics of the company we keep – for example, you may eat less when surrounded by thinner people – and it seems that the same applies to physical activity,” says the head of Vitality Wellness, Dr Craig Nossel.

“Two of the biggest drawbacks to starting and maintaining an exercise regime are motivation and staying power, but the solution may be as simple as finding an exercise partner.

“In 2016, researchers at the University of Aberdeen found that enlisting an exercise companion increases the amount of exercise people do and the frequency they do it. Interestingly, participants exercised better when their companions provided them with emotional support – like pitching up for every workout session.

Picture: iStock

“Humans are social creatures, and training together taps into our human desire for approval,” adds Nossel.

“Along with increased accountability, exercising with others offers a greater sense of connection and satisfaction.”

Recent studies also show that exercising in a group improves quality of life and reduces stress more than when you do so alone, and that, compared to other forms of exercise, participating in team sports has the biggest positive impact on mental health.

Discovery Vitality has been putting these learnings into practice with the launch of their 10-week Vitality Open campaign, which invited all South Africans to experience their Vitality Active rewards programme.

Members on the programme have been shown to increase their frequency of physical activity by 24% and, when exercising, they tend to exercise at a higher intensity.

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