Pair-up for a better fitness plan

Studies show those keeping fit can increase their chances of sticking to their programme by a whopping 90 percent if they exercise with a partner.

A partner can help encourage you when you’re feeling at the end of your tether and help keep you focused and motivated when you are struggling. A partner can provide that all-important friendly ear when you need to talk or feel like you might slip up. And a partner can persuade you to work out even when you’re not in the mood.

Here are a few ways to get the most out of your keep-fit partnership:

Set some mutual goals. Lay the foundation for a lifetime of exercise with a little planning. Be specific. Write down when you will exercise, what activities you will do and where you'll do them. Even pick an event you will do together, like a 5k run or maybe something more ambitious like a mini-marathon. Post the goals on the fridge door or somewhere that you will both see them.

Discuss your weaknesses. Allow your partner to help you through that choc attack or crisp craving and commit to help each other through tough times. You will be surprised how you will feed off of each other’s energy and push yourselves to a new level of fitness and accomplishment.

Assess each other’s fitness level. This is the fun part. Get out the scale, stopwatch, camera and measuring tape to record your starting points. Create a folder or journal to store your stats along with your workout schedule and goals. This will be a good comparison and motivator as you are progressing or if you reach a plateau. After a few months, re-evaluate your level of fitness and compare your improvements. You may be delighted at how much stronger, flexible and fit you are.

Choose adventurous activities. The world is your gym. Consider taking a sporting holiday or use your weekends to hike or go mountain biking. Or what about those dance lessons you’ve been talking about? Replace dinner and a movie with ice-skating or swimming. You will be surprised how you can add activity into your lifestyle when you put your mind to it.

Stretch together. Stretching is an important component of fitness that is often forgotten. Having a significant other to stretch with after an intense workout will give you something to look forward to.

Celebrate your successes. Set up rewards for when you reach a goal or milestone. These don’t have to be expensive, but something you have agreed on and are looking forward to. Examples include a massage, a new pair of trainers or a new workout video. You can get imaginative from there - that’s the fun of working out with your partner - you may be surprised how much closer exercise can bring you.

There are far too many benefits of exercise to list, and exercising with a partner increases the payback to the body and mind to an even greater level. Having the support of a significant other in your fitness efforts will positively impact many areas of your life.

So what are you waiting for chaps? Get out there, pair up, and get active.

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