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4 tips for choosing a workout partner

workout partnerSelfMy husband and I recently started Cool Running’s 9-week conditioning app, Couch-To-5K.  Three days a week, we jog around our neighborhood.  Despite my grumpy morning mood, I’ve noticed something: We never miss a workout.

Past research—like a 2009 Penn Medicine study—has shown that having partners in exercise can increase weight loss.  And, more recently, a May 2011 Michigan State University study found that even virtual workout buddies with superior ability increased motivation—the relevant subjects held postures for 24% longer!

Clearly, sometimes it takes two to make a thing go right.  Still, it’s important to choose the right partner for your particular exercise level and regimen.  Keep the following attributes in mind, when choosing your workout buddy:

1. Exercise Type:
According to the Running Doc, Lewis G. Maharam, MD, whether or not someone prefers a partner is individual, but is also largely dictated by activity.  For instance, while many runners prefer to insert ear buds and exercise solo, a partner may be considered more useful in other arenas:  “If you’re doing weight work or cross-training in the gym, it’s good to have a partner to spot,” explains Maharam.  “Also, the most common cause of injuries is bad form, which can be hard to determine for yourself.  So it’s good to have someone else who can check your position.”  The same goes for yoga and Pilates.

2. Fitness Level:
Look for a buddy whose fitness level is in the same stratosphere as your own.  “It’s really hard to exercise with someone who is light years ahead of or behind you.  The danger is that you’ll end up either doing too much or too little,” says Maharam.  “For instance, runners use pace as a guide, when looking for partners. You don’t want to go out and run a marathon the first day.”

Keep reading for 2 more tips plus fun partner exercises…

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