We all know that exercise is that much easier when youâ€™ve got company. Whether in the form of a podcast or a pal, dragging yourself through an unwanted workout is noticeably more rewarding when there’s someone by your side.
A monster study, including the data of more than a million people over a five-year period, found that not only is exercise “socially contagious” and working out with a friend pushes you harder, but also that sharing your workout with a friend who’s justÂ starting out is actually more motivating to your own progress.
â€œPeople who are less active influence people who are more active with a greater magnitude than the other way around. Couch potatoes influence marathoners more than marathoners influence couch potatoes,â€ explains Sinan Aral, the David Austin Professor of Management at MIT.
â€œPeople who are less active influence people who are more active with a greater magnitude than the other way around.”
Tracking specifically those who use fitness trackers and share their results either through the same technology or with friends face-to-face, the study concluded that sharing motivates people to push themselves harder.
If youâ€™ve delayed finding a workout buddy, get onto it. Your regime will thank you for it, Sinan says.
â€œGet friends who are improving their own health behaviours, because the greatest marginal benefits will come from those friends who themselves are committed to doing better each day,â€ adds Sinan. â€œIf you link up with a friend who is perhaps exercising less and less each day, then that will have a diminishing effect on your exercise behaviour.â€