I came across another story from Carolyn, who at 73 found herself at a crossroads last summer. Years of spinal trouble and chronic pain had left her too weak to walk to the car alone, let alone drive.
“Everybody was really sweet – ‘Let’s take care of Nana,’ ” the retired nurse recalls. “But I didn’t want to be that old yet. I still wanted to have a life.”
So Carolyn started going to a fitness studio twice a week for small group training, which she liked right away!
But things took off when she invited her longtime friend, Karen, to join her. Now both are stronger, more limber and have better endurance. They really enjoy their tradition of working out twice a week together and going for lunch on Fridays at their favorite Thai restaurant.
They’re proof positive that the buddy system works. Read on to see how you can encourage exercise success ...
While some people enjoy working out alone, others find working out with a friend increases their chances of success because:
- They find it’s more fun.
- They hold each other accountable.
- They give each other positive feedback and encouragement.
- It’s a great social outlet and helps them overcome any nervousness about starting to work out.
Having an exercise companion does, indeed, increase the amount of exercise someone does. And the best qualities that made a good partner had more to do with emotional support, than “practical” support, like never missing a session.
Other tips for being a good workout partner include:
- Sticking to a list of valid excuses for missing a workout
- Staying positive
- Avoiding judgment and comparisons
- Supporting healthy eating
- Celebrating positive milestones
I could see all of these traits in Carolyn and Karen.
Karen, 60, is a retired medical assistant. She spent the last several years as a caregiver to her mother and sister. “In between taking care of everybody else, I didn’t have much time for myself,” she says.
That included spending time with friends. So joining Carolyn at the gym was a way to practice self-care and enjoy social interaction. She was also getting stronger and feeling better.
“The buddy system is the reason I decided to do this with Carolyn,” she says. “I knew that going with her, it would almost force me.”
She and Carolyn motivate each other but aren't competitive.
“It’s like you have a date with this person and you don’t want to let them down,” Carolyn says.
Both women enjoy the full-body workouts involving strength training, stretching and balance exercises. They say they feel better in every way!
“I like the way I feel,” Carolyn says, with confidence she can enjoy playing with her grandchildren, cook family meals, and enjoy travel.
“I wasn’t ready to be done with life, and I wanted to be able to do certain things. I have an appreciation for the smaller things that you take for granted when you’re younger. I’m glad I got better, so now I can have some more fun. I highly recommend it.”
If you're in the Langley area, try Brand Fitness' Small Group Training Program with a friend today! There are over 30 weekly sessions to choose from! Contact Us to give it a try with your friend.