Having a stronger exercise partner helps women work out more

Women who exercise with a partner whom they consider stronger than themselves can see their workout time and intensity rise by 200%, research from the Kansas State University showed last week.

The study included college-age women who were, at first, told to ride a stationary bike as long as they could during six sessions over a period of four weeks. After the first part of the research, the participants were invited to more exercise sessions but this time they were played a looped video of another person who they were told was their 'virtual partner' exercising in another lab and whose riding time was around 40% longer than theirs.

This time the average riding time of participants increased by nine minutes compared with when they exercised alone, Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology and the researcher behind the study, said.

For the third part of the research, participants were told that they and their virtual partner had joined a team and were working together for a team score. The women believed that in the previous sessions their partner had exercised for a longer period than them, Irwin said.

During the first team session, the participants worked out about a minute longer than they did in the previous trial. By the last session, participants exercising as part of a team worked out nearly 160% longer than they did when they were exercising as partners and almost 200% longer than when they exercised alone.

Irwin concluded that women exercising with someone that they considered better than themselves tended to put more effort into the workout.

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