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Exercising together helps to get off the couch

16. July 2017 - Anika Semmer

How Exercising Together Defeats the Couch Potato


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After a hard day, it’s hard to wrestle the lazy fellow down and get active. Nothing helps more effectively than exercising together. This is how you make the leap from couch potato to recreational athlete!

Together You Can Conquer Your Inner Weakness – That’s the Way to Do It!

Our everyday life is filled with obligations, work and strenuous activities. That’s why many of us find it hard to get up and get physically active when it’s finally closing time. The couch, the Wednesday evening series on TV and a bit of surfing the net are simply too tempting. At the latest when talking to friends who do regular exercise, the guilty conscience kicks in. Even worse: when you meet a friend jogging in the park. Actually, we know it very well: sport not only ensures a good figure and fitness. – Regular physical exercise is also absolutely essential for health.

At the same time, sport does not have to be a tiresome obligation at all! Regular sport releases feelings of happiness, allows us to experience success and can be really fun. In fact, you always feel really good after sport, and full of motivation. And when you achieve a goal you’ve set yourself for a long time, it’s downright euphoric. So the biggest hurdle to wrestle down your inner weakness is to get up the nerve to do sports in the first place. And that’s exactly where exercising together with friends is an enormous help!

Children are actually always in motion – and they always prefer to play together than alone. Teenagers also still have a lot of urge to move, but they are also increasingly interested in leisure activities without much movement. You know this from yourself: Listening to music, watching TV, gambling, chatting are all of a sudden much more attractive pursuits…. 😉

When free time is scarce and stress is added, sport loses its appeal. Adults who do sport usually do it for their health, fitness or good looks, but unfortunately often not because of the fun of exercise. Because with age we forget what children instinctively know. Movement is fun and being active together is even more fun than being alone.

Why Exercising Together Is Enormously Motivating

Exercising together while doing fitness exercises

Exercising together in one place

Friends are the greatest motivators! Studies such as the DKV report “How healthy is Germany?” prove that friends motivate even more to exercise together than financial incentives. The mere prospect of spending time together with a friend and running towards a goal together is motivating, because you no longer have to fight against your inner enemy alone.

Shared experiences connect: even when exercising sports together, you see and experience fun things that you still remember years later. Even if everyone runs alone, you are still on the road as a team and share each other’s sense of achievement when they reach a personal milestone.

Whether you go running together, play badminton in pairs or start a team sport like volleyball together, the positive sense of community is the second strongest driving force after health to do sport. That’s why big sporting events like city marathons or bike races are becoming more and more popular. At these sporting events, there is sociability and a strong sense of community, and this positive feeling motivates us enormously!

Only one thing can keep up with friends when it comes to motivation: the weather! When it’s warm, the sun is shining and the weather is nice, that motivates 60% of people to get active and move around!

Why Social Commitment Has Only Positive Effects

When you decide to do sports together with a friend, you make a date and make a commitment. Even if this leads to groans a few days later, the inhibition threshold to pick up the phone and cancel the joint run out of laziness is greater than if you only have to give yourself righteousness. You don’t cancel a date with a friend without a good reason. – The social obligation is therefore a strong weapon in the fight against the inner pig!

Whoever has made several attempts to do sport regularly and has repeatedly given up after 5-6 times, should definitely try to do sport together on fixed dates. You can arrange to do this with a friend who does sport regularly anyway, or with a fellow sufferer who also finds it difficult to motivate himself. However, you should make sure that the difference in performance level is not too great. Feeling “worse” all the time is often more demotivating than encouraging people to do better. Ideally, you should do sport together with friends who are similarly fit as you are.

If there are doubts right from the start about whether you can get up the nerve to exercise together, then an additional social commitment will also help here: join professionals to train together. In bigger cities like Berlin or Munich there are free running clubs and fitness offers in parks and many leisure activities for every kind of sport, some of which are also free. But also in smaller towns, adult education centres, sports clubs and private fitness groups offer many sports activities with professional help to stay on the ball.

Why Appointments and Rules Are So Important

Canoeing regularly and doing sport together

Sporting fixed dates for canoeing

The greatest enemies of the inner pig are fixed appointments and rules! They make his dastardly work of persuasion more difficult and provide regularity and structure. Humans are creatures of habit, the more we get used to fixed daily routines the less we question them. If the badminton or jogging appointment with friends every Tuesday and Thursday is already a fixed part of your daily routine, then you’ve got it made. Besides, only regular exercise helps you to become fitter and to do sport effectively.

It is therefore important to have concrete appointments, preferably not individual appointments but regular fixed appointments every week. Ideally, before you start, ask a trainer (for example, at the gym) or an experienced friend for a good amount of sport to start with. You can then base your schedule on this. Experience shows that it is best to start with 2-3 days of exercise lasting between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the type of sport. If you not only want to move together, but also want to increase your performance, the demand or duration increases.

As with all joint activities, it is advisable to agree on rules at the beginning. This prevents frustration if someone forgets to cancel the appointment and everyone can do exactly as much sport together as they want.

These are the questions you should discuss together at the beginning:

  • How long do we do sport? (Or: What distance do we run?)
  • What distance is good for the weakest?
  • What do we do if one is late?
  • What do we do if someone doesn’t come without cancelling?
  • What programme do we have in mind?
  • Wer von euch hat welche Ziele?

Exercising Together Despite Different Performance Levels

Even young and old people with completely different performance levels can effectively do sport together! This may be obvious in team sports, but it is even possible in running. To progress effectively in your fitness, you should also run at your own pace when jogging together. At the beginning, you arrange fixed dates or times at which you meet at fixed meeting points. There, all the runners come together and do exercises such as sprints or push-ups, which everyone adapts to their own physical condition. It’s that easy to exercise effectively together without under- or over-exerting a friend!

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At Abenteuer Freundschaft you’ll find plenty of outing tips, as well as gift ideas and tips for activities with friends, kids and your partner.

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