Science Says Working Out With a Friend Is the Best Way to Exercise

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Thank you for being a friend.Photo: Guido Mieth/Getty Images

Many of us struggle to motivate ourselves to put down the doughnuts and actually go on a run when we’re alone, and yet we always seem to make it to spin class when we’re going with a friend. A new study revealed that, unsurprisingly, having an exercise buddy may just be the key to getting off the couch — and pushing ourselves harder during our workouts.

For the study, researchers from the University of Aberdeen paired one group of participants up with a new gym buddy, while another group continued on with their normal exercise routines. As it turns out, the group with exercise partners worked out more than those who did their own thing. The scientists also found that people worked out more when their exercise buddy offered emotional support and encouragement, rather than just practical support, such as never missing a session.

“Once we found that having a new exercise companion increases exercise frequency we wanted to find out why this is beneficial and what quality of support they offer that has this effect. Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together,” study lead author Dr. Pamela Rackow said in a statement.

On a related note, we’re now taking volunteers to peer pressure us into going on a run later.