What should I look for in an exercise partner?

Social networks can strongly influence behavior and beliefs. People who are trying to change their exercise behavior and who have a strong social support fare better. That social support can include family, friends, coworkers, personal trainers, and other people who provide encouragement, support, accountability, and companionship.

There are various kinds of support that help people reach their health and fitness goals, and each of these support mechanisms has a significant impact on your successes or failures. An exercise partner should provide the following types of support:

  • Instrumental support is the tangible and practical factors necessary to help you adhere to your exercise plan.  
  • Emotional support is expressed through encouragement, caring, empathy, and concern. Someone who understands your needs and might also be going through the same thing you are experiencing.  
  • Informational support is the type of support includes the directions, advice, or suggestions given to clients about how to exercise and the feedback regarding their progress.
  • The exercise partner should be a companion. Companionship support is the availability to have a friend, family, and/or coworkers to exercise with you.  
Eric Olsen
Training with partners is not without hazards; you need to find training partners who are simpatico, who train at your pace, and willing to be flexible if you're having a bad day (likewise, you need to be sensitive to your partner's needs, and be willing to back off a bit if your partner is dragging). And there may be times when your body needs rest, no matter how badly you would like to join your friends on the hiking or jogging trails; at times like these, arrange to meet your training comrades for snacks after they've completed their workouts and you've had a rest.
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.