Getting off of the couch and into the gym may be very straining for some folk. It may seem that unhealthy distractions are all around us and working out may seem less and less appealing. But a new study shows that taking a buddy along with you may help you enjoy the pain a bit more and may keep you from getting distracted and working out more consistently.

“The idea behind the project was to conduct a study that is rather naturalistic and applicable…… The criterion to chose the new sports buddy was that it needed to be a person with whom the participant should never have exercised before,” says Dr. Pamela Rackow the lead author of the study.

The study took two pairs of groups, one was working solo, all alone and the other group was working in pairs. The partners were randomly assigned to make it more lifelike, as if a person were to ask their buddy to join them.

Some results of the study are not too shocking, of course many things are better with a friend, but there is one finding that may strike interest.

“ Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together, ” states Dr. Pamela Rackow.

Emotional encouragement can come in all forms and is an easy way to help out a buddy. What Dr. Pamela means is that when the participant did not feel like working out they had a buddy there to give them that extra boost of encouragement.

“When I am alone I am really bored and I really enjoy having my sister with me,” says Araceli Espinoza, a local Curtis Park walker who enjoys the companionship of her sister Norma.

“We walk for an hour or more and after the workout I feel rejuvenated and re-energized,” says Norma Espinoza.

Some studies have been done on habit forming and how long it takes for something to become a daily habit. The results of the studies range from 3 weeks to around 3 months, some cases 5 to 6 months.

Technically speaking one could workout every day with a buddy for half a year and most likely will continue to work out all alone. One could take this further as to take action planned steps towards eating better and living a more healthy life together.

If you are all alone hopefully this quote from Muhammad Ali will give you the boost for today:

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion’.”