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Need motivation to workout? Find a partner

(Photo: Unsplash/Victor Freitas)
(Photo: Unsplash/Victor Freitas)

The motivation, intensity, and consistency of my workouts have all increased thanks to one thing: the people beside me. The social aspect of working out has changed everything.

It's nice to see more employees taking advantage of the on-site gym as we return to the physical workplace here at Christian Care Ministry. A small group of us who used to meet for workouts before the pandemic have resumed this beneficial practice. While I tried to stay active during the work-from-home period, I found that the energy and motivation of a small group of peers can't be replicated in a solo workout.

“As Iron sharpens Iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

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If you happen to be in an exercise rut, lack motivation, or are just getting bored, try to find one or more people who will be a positive influence to join you. Soon you too may experience some of these numerous benefits:

1. Community support. Working out with others fosters a sense of belonging and support, which can be motivating and encouraging. When your spirits or your body falter, others can help to carry you.  “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecc. 4:9-10).

2. Accountability. Let’s face it, when someone comes up to your face or sends you a text to say, “Meet you at the gym at 6:00,” you are more likely to go. There’s a sense of responsibility in keeping a commitment to a friend, knowing you will be missed, or not wanting to let others down — one that helps us show up when we may not do so on our own. Once there, having an encouraging voice helps us to bring our best effort.

3.Increased motivation. Individuals are often more inclined to push themselves harder in the presence of others. According to a study by Yates (2010), “individuals who exercised with a partner demonstrated significantly longer workout durations and higher intensities compared to those who exercised alone.”

4. Variety of workouts. When a group works out together, diverse ideas can be pooled, leading to various workout options and improved fitness levels.  I love it when one of our group members brings in a new exercise. It keeps the workout exciting and shocks the muscles (and we are all sure to be sore the next day).  

5.Social interaction. With more work-from-home jobs and virtual everything, working out with others provides an opportunity to socialize and build new friendships. When two or more work toward a common goal, their bond increases. Physically gathering together to work out can spark conversations and signal the need for a post-workout prayer session.

6.Healthy competition. When a group works out together, they can push each other through competition, increasing workout intensity and motivation to challenge themselves.

7.Skill development. We learn from others. A group member could help us master a new technique or exercise.  Our group often has one or more real experts regarding form and technique. They help to correct us when needed, which greatly benefits our outcomes and keeps us safe.

8. Celebrating successes. Working out with others gives you someone to celebrate with. Even just a high five or a “well done” after hitting a personal best adds to the reward of hitting a new milestone and fosters a positive and supportive atmosphere.

9.Improved psychological well-being. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, participating in group exercise is associated with significant improvements in mood, self-esteem, and overall psychological well-being. Herring’s report is one of many that suggest group exercise can reduce stress and anxiety.

10.It's more fun! When an activity is fun, we are more likely to engage in it regularly.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

When I am regularly working out with a group, I’m not focused on how many calories I want to burn or how many steps I need to take. I show up and work as a team to achieve a common goal. It completely changes my mindset. Knowing I am strengthening my body to do all God has called me to do changes my mindset even more. Exercise can become worship to God when done with the right intentions.

I encourage you to find others who will share this attitude and come alongside you in your fitness journey. Many non-profit, faith-based gyms are starting to pop up across the country. Do a quick search to see if one is nearby. If not, perhaps you could get a few members of your small group together for uplifting, healthy fun.

Happy exercising!

Debbie Ryan is a Public Relations Specialist with Christian Care Ministry/ Medi-Share. She is passionate about following Jesus, her kids, and health and wellness. She strives for opportunities to promote all of these things.

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