Physical exercise

New Research Suggests Working Out With a Friend, Even Online, Makes You Healthier

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That exercise is a social activity is not surprising. For millions of years our forebears physically worked together to provide shelter, craft rudimentary tools, hunt, and gather. If anything is strange today it’s how little we need to use our bodies to survive, which helps account for so many of our physical and emotional problems.

Nature designed in us a biological need for movement. In the past century this primal need has manifested in gyms and fitness studios. The current explosion in boutique and chain fitness—in 2015 over 30,000 clubs raked in $27 billion from 55 million members—is indicative of this essential component of being human. While some prefer solitary exercise, most like to share the experience with a partner (or two, or ten).

Being socially active is the main reason I’m drawn to teaching group fitness, which has accounted for half of my career since 2004 (and complements the solitary time spent writing and editing nicely). There’s nothing like stepping inside of a room of ten to fifty people a dozen times a week to move, sweat, stretch, be challenged, and laugh together. While anecdote is not data, the inspiration fitness enthusiasts derive from others is unquestionable.

Yet data are important, and new research from MIT Sloan School of Management’s Sinan Aral and Christos Nicolaides appears to back this theory up. While this particular research is focused on running, I’ve witnessed similar trends in many formats, especially yoga and studio cycling. As it turns out, your friends don’t even have to live near you—social media is helping foster this trend as well. As the NY Times reports,

Using data from surveys and postings on social media, scientists have reported that obesity, anxiety, weight loss and certain behaviors, including exercise routines, may be shared and intensified among friends.

Part of the reason such data have been difficult to track in the past is due to the unreliability of proclaimed workout regimens compared to how much people actually work out. Fitness trackers don’t allow fibbing. The researchers collected over five years of data from over a million runners, who collectively clocked in nearly 225 million miles.

First they assessed individual runners, whose identities were hidden. Then they compared it to friends they were connected with via their tracking device. They noticed similar training patterns even…

Tracking Your Workout Activity: Several Ways You Can Do It

track workouts
track workouts

A lot of people struggle with starting a workout regimen. A lot of them lay out several excuses in order to postpone their training sessions.

This is where motivation kicks in.

Depending on the type of your personality, you have to find one specific motivation to get you up and running for your workout program. One of the best and most interesting motivators you can find is technology.

No matter if you are an amateur or a professional, you can take advantage of the latest technologies in order to track your progress. If you love the old ways of tracking workouts, you can always choose to do so as well. The most important thing is that you organize and track your progress.

Why should you track your workout?

When you start a workout regimen, the exercise selection is fairly small and you can easily remember the number of reps per workout you can make.

However, as you get in better shape, the more routines and variations you can make. It now becomes impossible to keep all the information in your head.

This is one good reason why tracking your activity is a necessary step.

Additionally, writing down everything that you do during every workout is going to show how fast you are progressing. It’s a good way to get a clearer idea of what changes and adjustments you need to make. By doing this, you can create a more efficient regimen that is going to bring you better results.

What are the best ways to track your progress?

It’s quite simple to accurately track your progress. First of all, it all depends on your personality. You can focus on a few important details or keep track of all workout-related information.

Here are a few examples:

Calendar

This is the most common way of tracking your workout activity. This type of tracking allows you to plan out the days on which you are going to perform your workouts. Thanks to modern smartphones, you can have a calendar with you at all times.

Electronic calendars can store more information about your workouts. Plus, there are reminders that you could set to notify you about your upcoming workout schedules.

If you prefer an old-school approach, you can hang a calendar on a wall and track your activities with a pen. This is the easiest way of tracking your workout progress. However, it does not a lot of space for details, except your schedule and the number of repetitions you are able to perform.

Online websites

There are lots of great online tools that can help you track your workout progress. One good example is bodybuilding.com. Apart from tracking, the website offers a big community of people who share the same interests as yours. This is…