By Northeast Community Center staff
for the Hollywood Star News
It’s February – that dangerous month when New Year’s fitness resolutions are in danger of falling into a plate of nachos. Making lasting changes to support your health and improve your fitness can be challenging, but studies show that working out with a friend or small group dramatically increases the probability of sticking to a routine and improving your health and well-being.
Nancy McMahon, a Northeast Community Center member since 2005, is convinced that working out with others helps her stay on-track. Five years ago, McMahon and four other acquaintances “fell together by accident.” Since then, they have consistently spent three mornings each week together: working out; recovering from injuries, illnesses and surgeries; losing weight; increasing strength and flexibility; and coalescing into a group of friends. According to McMahon and her group, here are some of the many reasons that fitness with friends supports lasting change:
A workout with friends is the one workout you won’t cancel. Meeting someone at the gym not only motivates you to show up, but to work hard as well. Recently, McMahon received an early morning text from one of her group members: “No gym for me today.” The others immediately responded: “You’ll feel better if you work out with us first. So come on!”
Group Motivation and Support.
“In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system,” says Wayne Anderson, MD. That social support encourages physical activity. One participant in McMahon’s group experienced a serious health challenge. McMahon credits the support of the group as the primary reason the participant returned to her fitness routine earlier than anticipated. And the group continually pushes each other, with one member challenging the others to complete a Warrior Dash this summer – a feat that would have been well outside the group’s comfort zone a few years ago.
Workouts are more fun.
Evidence suggests that your body produces more endorphins when you work out with a group. These endorphins can help reduce pain, increase energy, and are often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. And time flies when you are having fun!
Share a Personal Trainer.
Sharing personal training can lighten your individual cost while still giving you access to expertise and individualized attention. McMahon’s group has been sharing the cost of a personal trainer. When split between five participants, her group’s sessions are as economical as $10/person/session, well below the typical $60-$85/person/session for one-on-one training.
McMahon and her small group participants – Barbara Trepiccione, Colin Brown, Marion Shipley and Lauren Moorman – started as strangers at the Northeast Community Center and became friends. During that journey, they have supported each other in achieving and maintaining their collective goal to stay healthy and fit. The NECC invites you to come in, bring a friend or meet new ones, and enjoy the benefits of getting fit with a friend.