Friends with Benefits

The other day when I was out for a run in this recent ungodly heat, I couldn’t help but notice how many groups of friends were gathered along the same trail.  These other brave soles were walking, running, gossiping, and catching up on each other’s lives, all while exercising.  This young couple in particular really caught my eye.  They were actually jogging in the opposite direction than I was, so I ended up passing them a couple of times throughout my run.  What really caught my attention, however, was the encouragement each other provided throughout their jog.  They said things like, “There’s no stopping now,” and, “Just two more hills, and then we’re done.” 

Watching how this couple depended on each other for motivation and strength really hit home with me.  I know that working out with a friend isn’t a new concept, but that morning was honestly the first time I’ve ever wanted someone next to me on a run or even just a St. Bernard with a water barrel (note to self: must bring more water next run). 

Often I find myself running solo, as it’s a great way to clear my head, think things through, or even just shut down the ole ‘noggin’ from time-to-time.  However, that morning I really saw the benefits of working out with a friend(s).    

Having a workout buddy is often a great way to get up, get motivated, and get your butt out the door to the gym, to the park, or wherever it is that you like to get a workout in (yes, walking the mall can count as exercise!).  

The fact that you know someone is waiting on you usually means there is even a smaller chance that you’ll skip out on the workout.  No one ever wants to leave a person hanging and then have to face them later, so chances are you’ll lace up those sneakers and get your workout on.  Besides the motivation, having a friend nearby during a workout can also help you de-stress and even provide you with someone to talk to and work towards your overall health goals.

Close friends, relatives, significant others, co-workers, and even acquaintances can all make good workout partners.  Who knows, you may even meet your future boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/secret lover by doing so.  I bet if you ponder for just a moment, you can think of at least one person who’s trying to get into better shape or drop a few pounds.

So the next time you hear your co-worker say, “Oh I meant to go to the gym this morning but I couldn’t help but push the snooze button,” invite them to meet you for your next workout.  It’ll help you reach your personal health goals faster and perhaps be the start of a beautiful friendship/relationship.

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