Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Working out alone vs. with others

When choosing the right exercise strategy for you, one question is whether to exercise alone or with others. I like opting for a mix!

Working out alone is easier to schedule and comes in handy when all your friends are busy. Some people enjoy the quietude of exercising just with the sound of music, nature or their breath. It can be a time for reflection or meditation.

Exercising can also be done a little at a time when you are on you own. Ideas: A few glut bridges before you get out of bed, a simple balance challenge while brushing your teeth, neck and upper back stretches in the shower, a few chin tucks at red lights, and/or some ankle circles and seated breathing and posture exercises while watching TV.  Restorative, conditioning movement throughout the day is great for the body!

Exercising with others, on the other hand, is also beneficial. It can serve as a reminder and motivator to exercise more regularly. Scientific studies show that people who exercise with others tend to exercise more often. Extroverts tend to be drawn to groups while introverts may prefer to exercise with one or a few people they know very well.

You may already know one or several people who would like to become exercise buddies. Walking with a spouse or a friend or strength training with a buddy at the rec center or gym are all options. If you enjoy larger groups, going dancing, taking group exercise classes, or playing sports can be rewarding.

If you feel hesitant to try a new exercise class, it can be less intimidating if you take a friend the first time, especially if the class is large. Senior center and church exercise classes tend to be a little more user friendly from the get go for the solo participant.

Another option, especially if you have specific physical challenges or want to improve your fitness level before you take a group class, is to work with a personal trainer. You may find you only need a few sessions to get you going. Or you may like the coaching and exercise customization so much that you opt to train on an ongoing basis.

Try experimenting a little to find the right combination of exercising alone and with others that is right for you!