Venus has Serena. Beyonce has Jay-Z. Peanut butter has jelly. One good thing transforms to something great with the help of the perfect pairing. Another thing that’s better as a duet? Your workout! Here’s why there’s strength in numbers.
You’ll Actually Show Up
“If you know a friend is waiting for you at the gym or won’t pound the pavement without you, it’s tough to bail,” says Thomas Plante, PhD, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, who has completed multiple studies on the power of exercise partners. It might be tempting to skip yoga after a long day at the office, but if you know your girlfriend already has her mat rolled out, “you won’t want to let her down,” Plante says.
You’ll Work Harder
You can gain the benefits of a buddy even if you don’t have any fit friends nearby: Women who were told that they had super-fit virtual sweat sisters simultaneously spinning pedaled for nearly twice as long as those who believed they were working out alone, according to a Michigan State study. Reap the same benefits wherever you live: Create a profile on SparkPeople.com or GymChum.com. Then record your progress, connect with other inspirational individuals, and prepare to build new friendships and muscle cells. Seek out someone who’s just a step above your fitness level for the biggest benefits.
You’ll Score a Free Therapy Sesh
“Those mall walkers are on to something,” Plante says. “They talk up a storm, whether it’s just gossip or helping each other work through problems. It’s a genius way to decompress and multitask.” Alternate sharing stories with your workout partner and prepare to watch the minutes speed by while shaking out emotional and physical stress.
You’ll Learn New Tricks
If your usual 30-minute elliptical session is starting to make you feel like you’re in Groundhog Day, ask another gym goer or a friend to share her go-to moves. Perhaps she’s taken a killer barre class or mastered P90X plyometrics moves—either way, you’ll walk away with a refreshed routine and will eventually uncover a better balanced bod.
You’ll Burn More Calories
Sure, you could catch up over cocktails. But if you exercise together instead, you can still socialize while scorching calories. In fact, you’ll burn, on average, 41 more calories per session exercising with your plus one than you would solo, says a UK study. Three team workouts later, you’ll have burned off one more glass of wine than you would have on your own. Cheers to that!