What Motivates Your Fitness?

What Motivates Your Fitness?

A recent University of Pennsylvania study found that college students’ attendance at exercise sessions was 90 percent higher if they felt they were competing against their peers. But as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further. But cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”

We agree: For most of us, it’s support and companionship that’s the best motivator for sustained working out or weight loss—with just a touch of friendly competition. As U.S. Olympic marathoner Don Kardong (he placed fourth in the 1976 Montreal Olympic games) says, “Eventually, competition and adventure wane…but I continue running for health, sanity and the ritual of a Sunday trail run with like-minded buddies.”

So if you’re struggling to keep up with your workout routine or to meet your weight-loss goals, don’t go it alone! Especially powerful is joining a group, so that you have several partners to depend on and who depend on you. Groups like Team in Training from the   Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Team Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association offer instruction, support and inspiration. Not your style? Find one workout buddy who’s as determined as you are. A bonus tip: If your resolve fades (you’ve missed the last two scheduled sessions or indulged in foods you know you shouldn’t eat) try mindful meditation to ease stress and re-focus your intentions. And often, a call from your workout buddy is what works best!

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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