Efficient exercise routine is better with friends – 03/31/2024 – Balance

Efficient exercise routine is better with friends – 03/31/2024 – Balance


Two years ago, Amy Gruenhut developed a near-fatal brain infection that put her in a coma for nearly two weeks. Since then, she has relearned how to eat, talk and walk to run four marathons.

Gruenhut used to run casually before her coma, but after she left the hospital, returning to the running trails of Central Park felt like a return to life itself.

Progress required patience and willpower that seemed almost superhuman. But like everyone, Amy Gruenhut sometimes struggled to get out of bed and tie her sneakers. For these moments, she gathered a group of workout friends to encourage her to move.

“I didn’t want to let them down,” said Gruenhut, 44. “They were also committing to me.”

Regardless of how inspired people are to achieve their health and fitness goals, many face barriers to putting in the time, repetitions, or steps. But experts say the difference between quitting or not often comes down to having a person, group, app or other outside force that encourages you to keep going.

Most discipline tricks are not universal. A person may find it motivating to share running times on an app fitness and others may find it extremely stressful. The key is to search until you find a strategy that works for you.

Find a partner who is more committed than you

Making plans to exercise with any friend increases your chances of breaking out of a sedentary lifestyle. But some experts say we benefit more from teaming up with someone who is more enthusiastic about exercise than we are.

A new study on motivation in the gym, soon to be published in the journal Management Sciencefound that participants who had difficulty exercising saw a significant improvement when they teamed up with someone who regularly went to the gym, cites Rachel Gershon, lead author of the survey and assistant professor of marketing at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Teaming up with someone who is already doing well at the goal you are trying to pursue can be effective,” said the researcher. “And the more dedicated partner also benefited.”

If you are the most dedicated training friend, you may benefit from motivating and/or training a less experienced friend, points out Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Chicago.

According to Fishbach, when you give advice, you are not only making yourself accountable to the other person, but you are also reinforcing your own commitment by hearing yourself articulate how or why you do something.

Justin Ross, a clinical psychologist in Denver who specializes in mental health and athlete performance, benefits from this type of partnership when coaching younger athletes. “I have to be present, not just for myself, but for them,” Ross says.

Sign up for a race, but don’t tell too many people

Deciding to train for a race or other sporting event can help you with your body structure and create responsibility, experts say. But you should probably keep your plans relatively private.

Sharing an ambitious goal — on social media, for example — can go wrong, creating the idea that you have already achieved your goal, says Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at New York University. Research indicates that for some people, talking about a future goal can feel like a substitute for it, as you get the satisfaction without the hard effort.

Wait to share your goal until you’re close to the finish line, both literally and figuratively, adds Oettingen.

Promise a fitness instructor that you will commit

While paying a gym membership motivates some people to exercise, it’s not enough for others. Only half of gym members go twice a week.

“If you don’t comply, there’s no real penalty,” said Dr. Kevin Volpp, director of Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economicsas well as feeling as if you had wasted money.

To create more accountability, establish a relationship with an instructor or coach and say you will show up for a class or workout session at a specific time. Social responsibility can be a powerful motivator.

Create encouragement with visual items, like a chain of paper clips

If you’re someone who responds well to visual cues or reminders, psychologist Justin Ross recommends creating a chain of clips to track your workouts and keeping it in a visible place.

Start with a paperclip, and each time you exercise, add a new paperclip to the end of the chain. You can also make a ball out of rubber bands.

“On days when you’re really not feeling your best,” says the expert, these visual reminders “can help give you some of that energy to get you going.”

Paid incentives can help

If you need an extra incentive, sign up for a paid or rewards app if you move, says Heather Royer, a health economist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

These apps track metrics through your cell phone or device. fitness, and offer product discounts or even charitable donations in your name. They are typically funded by corporate sponsors or commissions from partner brands.

Royer uses an app that offers gift cards and discounts for moving 150 minutes a week. Even though the payment itself is small, it is motivating for her. “It’s enough so that, at the end of the week, if I haven’t reached this goal yet, I’m exercising at 10 pm”, she adds.

This article was originally published in The New York Times.


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