Want to stick to your workout? Don’t do it alone.
Fall is coming, and with it, weather that keeps people inside and sweaters that hide a lot of bulges. So how do you stick to your workout routine? Don’t do it alone!
Recent studies have shown that people who work out in groups have a much higher adherence rate than those who work out on their own. Bert Carron, a kinesiology professor at the University of Western Ontario, told the Los Angeles Times that “Human beings are wired to be in groups. … Exercising alone doesn’t work for the majority of people.”
You’re also more likely to stick to your routine if you find a group of people with similar goals, ages or exercise ability. Take a look at the gyms in your area to see what types of classes are being offered; chances are high that you’ll find a class tailored to your specific needs and demographics. GRAVITY® Master Trainer Rob Glick points out that there are a wide variety of GRAVITY classes available on Total Gym® machines, from easier levels that focus on functional exercises to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes in the Tabata style.
Try to pick exercise that you enjoy as well. One of the reason classes from ZUMBA (a Physiquality partner) have become so popular is the fact that it feels more like a dance party than an exercise class. ZUMBA workouts provide long-term fitness benefits through exhilarating, high calorie-burning fitness classes, while its simple Latin and urban dance moves, like salsa, the merengue and the cha-cha, increase the fun factor.
Having a workout buddy or knowing people in your exercise classes also keeps you motivated to go to the gym. As one woman told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s a lot harder to say, ‘I think I’ll order a pizza and watch the game,’ when someone else is waiting in her shorts to go for a run.'” And don’t think your buddy needs to be human. Studies have shown that dog owners are much more likely to get regular moderate exercise than those without dogs to walk.
Need more than the buddy system? Committing yourself to mastering a new discipline, like the tango or Pilates, will give you a goal to work toward. Carol Tricoche, Vice President, Full Solutions™ at Merrithew Health & Fitness™ (their premier brand is STOTT PILATES®, another Physiquality partner), says that people with a good knowledge base of the Pilates method are the most likely to stick with it for the long term. She suggests taking a few private sessions before taking larger reformer or mat classes. Some studios also offer beginner sessions, where you can learn with others new to the method.
If you need a goal and a hard deadline, enter a race. Most long-distance races like marathons and triathlons have plenty of groups to help you train and stay focused on your goal. If you show your friends and family how determined you are to run or compete, chances are they’ll support your goals and help you as best they can.
Just remember that exercise should be something you look forward to, rather than something you dread. Rob says that the people least likely to stick with a group fitness class are those that “think working out is about as pleasurable as fingernails on a chalkboard. They need to find an activity they enjoy and don’t think of as ‘exercise.'” There are plenty of ways to have fun and stay in shape. And who knows? You may even win a prize for “most improved.”
Carol Tricoche is the Vice President of Full Solutions™ at Merrithew Health & Fitness™; their premier brand is STOTT PILATES®, a Physiquality partner. Carol is also a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor and an expert at helping clubs and studios implement a successful Pilates program from the ground up.
Rob Glick is a Master Trainer for GRAVITY® and developed their GRAVITYGroup fitness program. Rob holds a B.S. in exercise science and is certified as a trainer by both ACE and the AFAA.
For further reading:
Vora, Shivani. Three times the effort, but not the cost. New York Times, September 8, 2011.
Braff, Danielle. Supporting a marathon runner’s goals. Chicago Tribune, September 7, 2011.
Kuslikis, Todd. HIIT workout routines: What are they? Extreme-Exercises.com, September 6, 2011.
Baker, Natasha. New iPhone app offers rewards for exercising. Chicago Tribune, August 29, 2011.
Warren, Ellen. Don’t underestimate the buddy system. Chicago Tribune, August 17, 2011.
Fell, James S. Not motivated? Sign up for a race. Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2011.
Fell, James S. For best exercise, don’t be lonely or late. Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2011.
Parker-Pope, Tara. Forget the treadmill. Get a dog. New York Times, March 14, 2011.
Murphy, Jen. Finding fitness in rhythm and movement. Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2010.