Why working out with a friend is scientifically proven to help you get fitter

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When it comes to your next Jennis Fitness circuit, it turns out that if you do it with a friend, you’re scientifically more likely to get more from the session! Partners count too – Jessica Ennis-Hill works out with her husband every Monday night.

We’ve all had those days where we could have done with a little extra nudge to put on our trainers and get on with our fitness workout. Well, finding a willing workout buddy may be the answer. Scientists examined the daily exercise patterns of more than a million people and found that your friends can have a huge impact on your exercise routine. Read on to find out just how exercising with a friend can help:

1. It’s more fun

If you’ve been dreading getting back to your exercise routine because time seems to pass sooo slowwwwwly when you work out, go with a friend. Just being with a pal can make it more fun and light-hearted, and it can also prove a valuable  distraction , for example if you catch up on a long run while trying to increase your distance.

2. You’re less likely to bail if you’re meeting a friend

Let’s face it, when it’s cold and rainy, going out for a run or a session on your bike is the last thing you want to do. But, if you’ve pre-arranged to meet a friend, you’re more likely to get it done than if you were planning to work out solo. It’s not just because you don’t want to let them down, either. A study by the  University of Aberdeen  found that exercising with a pal gives you both valuable emotional support and encouragement, too.

3. You’ll work a whole lot harder

Find yourself flagging during a workout normally? Knowing that your friend has done a longer workout encourages you to exercise for longer as you push each other on, according to  scientists .

You could also try exercising with a friend you think is a little better than you. One  study  found that this means you increase your workout intensity, in some cases by up to 200%. Why? Scientists think we want to avoid letting our exercise partners down so we really put our all into it. But  choose your partner carefully – it turns out that men are motivated to exercise by both men and women, but only women inspire women, apparently. 

4. The competitive edge can help

Exercising with a buddy, as Jessica Ennis-Hill does with her husband Andy Hill, pictured below, also taps into our competitive edge, apparently. Scientists have found that we try to literally out-run each other in terms of performance! Another reason to work out harder...

5. It’ll bring you closer

Working out together is a great way to build bonds with your friends, say scientists. A UK study found that group exercise helps strengthen bonds and builds trust – making you feel more, well, together.

6. It’s a trend

Yep, it seems the social workout is the new happy hour. Group exercise – whether it’s in a class, with a personal trainer or in the great outdoors – is tipped to become a big fitness trend in 2020 because it's now seen as a great way to catch up with friends. It’s thought exercising with your friends is especially popular among people who have literally zero time to spare. After all, what's not to like about combining exercise and a chat with mates?

7. You’ll burn more calories

Scientists think that working out with a friend who is pushing herself harder means you really put your all in it too – so you’ll use more calories for your workout. Win-win!

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