Some days, solo workouts are a recipe for a clear head and calmer vibes. Others, it’s good to have a partner in sweat to get through the endorphin-filled tough stuff with. Plus, that fit buddy can help you go harder for longer, according to research. Those who planked with a partner were able to hold the exercise up to 24 percent longer than those doing it alone, according to a study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. In fact, over half of the people who participated in a Sonos study said that music helped them to push themselves harder and workout for longer and a whopping 68 percent said that music is the motivation that helps them show up when they otherwise would’ve skipped.
A guaranteed way to bring some fire to your next joint workout? Turn up the tunes. While it may not necessarily make you focus in on the task at hand, music will lead to an increase in overall enjoyment, according to Brunel University research. In this particular study, participants liked the effort 28 percent more when listening to Pharrell versus hitting the track sans beats (and 13 percent more than a podcast, FWIW). Plus, music promotes closeness and connection—ideal aspects to any good partner workout.
Granted, you don’t have the opportunity to blast a stereo anywhere and everywhere. And that’s where the Airpod sharing comes in. Now that the ear buds are wireless, it’s so much easier to pop one in and hear a beat while you chat with your friends as the miles go by (and the newest generation stays charged for longer and really keep put on the go).
Before you say “ewwww!” and click away, let’s talk ear wax: the sticky stuff is the body’s natural way of protecting your ears against infection, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. Sure, the wax has some bacteria, but its main job in the ear is to prevent bacteria from going deeper into your ear, which I hope gives you some solace. Want to share an AirPod or other headphone with a friend? Give it a quick wipe and go for it. Then, you’ll reap the mental boost together for your shared workout.
“Normally during a workout we encounter those not great feels,” says Laura Pence, PsyD, a clinical psychologist based in Dallas. “The body gets tired, we feel sore, sweat kicks in reminding us we are working hard. But, but if we’ve got the jams going it’s competing for our brain’s attention and we don’t have quite as much brain space to focus on what hurts.”
Even better: music with lyrics that are particularly motivating, says Pence. For example, if your fangirl-ing for Cardi B knows no bounds, crank up “I Like It” when you’re heading into that final running push. Create a shared playlist with your friends that’s perfect for morning miles or wherever your fitness takes you. “It’ll remind you of your intentions for the workout and your capacity for completion,” she says. And then crush whatever workout is out in front of you.
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