PTD0415_ExerciseSome people view their workouts as a chance to grab some personal, meditative time, while others think of exercise as a social event. Some find that they adhere better to an exercise routine if they work out with a friend or family member. Does exercising alone or with others make a difference to your health? The research on this subject is rather interesting.

A 2010 study of 91 students at Santa Clara University, California, found that people exercise more effectively with a partner, but only if that partner is more enthusiastic about exercise than they are. In other words, working out with someone who is less enthusiastic about exercising than you are may result in your getting a less-productive workout.

Another small study of a group of rowers from Oxford University, United Kingdom, suggested that group exercise helps reduce pain and enhance good feelings, probably due to the endorphins released in a positive social setting. And, most experts agree that having someone holding you accountable—whether that person is a friend or a trainer—can help you stick to your fitness goals.

Group exercises inspire a sense of healthy competition and motivation. Some people are driven by comparison with others, so being in a room full of sweaty, energetic people can give them the extra push they need to get through their workout. This effect is often evident in people exercising to lose weight; one study claimed that those who work out with a partner tend to lose up to ten pounds more than those who exercise alone.

Exercising with a partner or group may elevate your mood and reduce stress. Working out with another person allows you to catch up socially while tackling your fitness goals.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring to keep your physical activity a solo endeavor. If working out with a partner or group will increase your stress, it won’t help you stick to a routine. Or your schedule may make it difficult to make that exercise class or find time to run with a friend.

Whether you are an exercise introvert or extrovert, we can help design a program that works best for your individual needs and desires. What matters most is that you show up, do the work and keep at it.

Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Paramus, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.