Newsletter Article

Boost Fitness with a Workout Partner

The beginning of a new year is a time when many of us make resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Unfortunately statistics show that most of us will return to our pre-new year behaviors within only a few weeks or months, and it’s estimated that fewer than 8% of us will actually achieve our resolution. However, one strategy to improve your chances of weight loss and long term fitness success is to enlist the help of a workout partner.

In a Korean study on middle-aged women, those who exercised regularly reported stronger social support compared to the women that were non-regular exercisers. A simple way to put these findings into practice is to find a workout partner with similar fitness goals. Workout partners not only share exercise experiences, they can also provide one another with encouragement, support, motivation and accountability. Research has shown that a workout partner can even improve athletic performance! This phenomenon is known as the Köhler motivation gain effect: a person does not want to be the weakest part of a group, so more effort is put forth. In one study testing the Köhler effect, subjects were instructed to hold a plank position for as long as possible. They were able to hold it significantly longer when a partner was present, compared to when they performed the exercise on their own. In a separate study involving cycling, researchers found that even a virtual workout partner increased effort and total cycling time.

If getting into shape is one of your goals for the new year, a workout partner could be helpful. As this evidence suggests, a workout partner can help improve accountability, motivation and performance, which translates into greater weight loss and fitness success.