Trying to tone up or slim down? Before you start shopping for a gym or putting kale in your grocery cart, you might want to find a workout buddy. Why? Having a partner to work out with — and surrounding yourself with healthy eaters at meal times — can make a significant difference in your fitness and food choices. Consider these five findings and then see who will meet you for a walk.
1. Get fitter together
Walking with a partner not only gives you someone to talk and laugh with, it also can help you stick with your fitness goals. Studies show that when people commit to working out together, they are much more likely to do it than those who go solo. One study showed that married couples who worked out together had a dropout rate of only 6.3 percent, compared with 43 percent for couples who worked out separately.
2. Buddies work harder together
Want to push yourself? Buddy up with some fitness pals. Turns out that it’s human nature to work out harder when we’re part of a group. One study showed that people who work out with a partner exercise 3 times as long than those who exercise alone.
3. Healthy family and friends make you healthier
Choose your friends wisely. Why? Because you become whom you hang out with. Studies show that people are heavily influenced by the exercise habits of the people in their lives. In a survey of more than 15,000 people in 12 countries, more than half said that friends and family had the biggest impact on their health.
4. Walk and talk for mind and body
When it comes to walking, the more the merrier. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that participants who engaged in group walking outdoors saw improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate and body fat. These social walkers were also significantly less depressed.
5. Eating for two
You think you’re making your own food choices? Think again. We eat what our friends and family eat. In fact, we can even be influenced by what we hear that friends or family members are choosing to eat. So know that your choices are far-reaching — not just for your health but for your buddy’s health as well.