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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
November 30, 2012

Exercise with a Partner Whom You Perceive to be Better, Says Study

Sticking to your fitness regimen is easier when you're doing it with someone. By Jennifer Chan

There’s nothing wrong with exercising on your own, but researchers say that having a partner whom you think is better than you may offer better results. According to a new study reported on, people are more inclined to stick to their exercise routine when they are doing it with another person.

For the study, college-age women were asked to ride on stationary bikes for six sessions over a four-week period. They were told to ride as long as they could, and by the end of the session, each participant stayed on the bike for an average of 10 minutes.

For the next leg of the experiment, the women were asked to come back for another session. This time, however, they were told that they would be cycling with a partner in another lab whom they could watch on the screen. The said video is only on loop, but the participants had no idea; they were even told that their partners had cycled 40 percent longer than them.

The researchers told the participants to stay on the bike for as long as they could. By the end of the experiment, the researchers found that the women cycled for an average of nine minutes longer than the first time. As the study progressed, the participants were able to increase their workout time and intensity by 200 percent.

People like to exercise with others and make it a social activity," says Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kiniesology from Kansas State University. “We found that when you're performing with someone who you perceive as a little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone."

So if you want to find a great way to stick to your exercise regimen, grab a partner! He or she will be able to motivate you to do better.

(Photo by David via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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