Making exercise a regular part of your schedule can be a challenge. But according to a recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics and highlighted by Research Digest, people who have a gym buddy are more likely to work out consistently than those who sweat by themselves.
Researchers from the University of Westchester in the U.K. recruited 181 students from the university who identified themselves as “infrequent gym-goers.” The researchers divided the participants into five groups, offering each group a different incentive for exercising. Members of the first group who met their exercise goal of at least three 30-minute workouts per week were entered to win an $80 Amazon gift card. Students in group two were given the chance to win a gift card as well, but they also received updates on how their fellow subjects were doing at sticking to their program. In the third group, participants were grouped in pairs and incentivized with a gift card, but given no information about how well other pairs were doing, while pairs in the fourth group were updated on other pairs performance. The fifth group was a control group.
Gym attendance increased for members of every group, but the greatest increase was among those who were paired with a partner (groups three and four). Members of these groups tripled the average number of times they worked out to more than three times per week. What’s greater, the researchers found that participants in these pairing groups were still keeping up with their routine a few weeks after the study ended.
It’s an important finding, considering that we know regular exercise is linked to better physical, mental and emotional well-being. So find a friend, a coworker, or a maybe a fellow client of your gym who seems to go on the same schedule as you do, and partner up. You may find that making time for movement becomes a whole lot easier.
Read more on Research Digest.