They're the people who make you look forward to working out and who you can count on to rise at dawn for a class, but it turns out your gym buddy does much more than keep you company. According to researchers at the University of Aberdeen, you can also thank them for keeping you in shape.
We've long known that exercising with a friend can help you stay motivated, but the 2016 study reveals just how important they are in helping you become fit and healthy. Lead author Pamela Rackow, PhD, from the Institute of Applied Health Sciences asked half of the study participants to find a new gym buddy and the other half to continue exercising solo. Those who sweat with a friend ended up hitting the gym more often and burned more calories.
"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," she told ScienceDaily. "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."
In other words, if you're searching for a new gym buddy, look beyond those who live close to you. According to their findings, friends who keep you accountable and encourage you to stick to your regimen are more important than those who actually hit the treadmill alongside you.
Have you started exercising with a friend? Tell us if it's helped keep you accountable.