Ken Guest Blogs: Hit Up the Gym with a Partner!

Ken Huang, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students, guest blogs again!:

A recent study found that female participants who exercised with a workout partner exercised better than when alone. According to the research, when paired up with a stronger partner, participants exercised much longer, and felt no more tired than solo participants who actually exercised for less time. Researchers also found that these benefits applied even when participants exercised with a virtual partner. They saw a looping video of another person exercising and were told that the virtual partner had exercised 40 percent longer than they did. After receiving this news, participants nearly doubled the time they spent biking!
Although the study tested women, past research indicates that this effect is true in male-female and male-male studies as well (and these effects extend into other behaviors beyond just exercise). Researchers think that the effects stem from our tendency to model our behavior based on those around us. If we see others doing well/making better choices, we are that much more motivated to do the same. So next time you’re feeling unmotivated to exercise — grab a partner, especially one who is a great exerciser!