I have an exercise partner, and I love it! Specifically, I walk with a friend on a regular (we try to do it 2-3 times a week) basis. While I had known her for the two years leading up to time we started walking together, we certainly weren’t super close.

I was surprised when, at 9 pm on a Tuesday night in early September of 2010 when my phone rang and she was on the other end. “Hey Caroline, I was wondering if you’d like to go on a walk tonight”. I had just pulled a loaf of bread from the oven, so I told her I’d meet her in 15 minutes. We walked a mile and a half that night. That first walk I started to think that it might be good to do this more often. 2 years ago I had no work out routine at all. I hadn’t been on my bike in almost a decade, I hadn’t actually gone on a run in years, and the only real exercise I would do is an occasional work. I wasn’t in good shape at all.

Throughout that fall we walked together 4 days a week, and our walks got longer and longer. By the beginning of November we were up to 7 miles, and it felt great. Somewhere along the way we became friends and actually started hanging outside after our walks too. It was great! Not only did I gain a new friend, but walking started getting me back into an exercise routine. Not only that, but it’s still a regular part of my workouts each week! Do you remember when I walked a half marathon last September? That was with her. And how about the time I had a 4 course meal at the melting pot? That was with her too!

Taken on a walk with my walking buddy.

Here are a few of the benefits I’ve noticed from having an exercise partner:

  1. It provides accountability. Those days I’m feeling lazy and would rather sit on the couch after work? When I have a walk scheduled with someone I’m less likely to back out. It sort of forces me into doing it, even when I really just want to sit.
  2. Exercising can be more fun! I really look forward to walking with friends. Maybe it’s because I grew up going on walks every night with my mom, but walking is one of my favorite activities. Sometimes it can feel like we’ve hit an exercise rut, but exercising with another person will throw a bit of variation into our schedules (or at least to the time we’re working out)!
  3. It’s a great time to process life issues. What else is the time for except processing through the tough stuff of life? (Besides having fun!) It’s like free therapy (which is kind of funny, because while the phrase “exercising is cheaper than therapy” is popular, we are both actually counselors!), and a great time to bounce ideas and concerns off another person.
  4. It can push you farther, faster, or to try something different. Some days I feel sluggish, but because the person I’m exercising with wants to go faster, I move faster (or go farther) and vice-versa. Working out with my brother means that I’ll lift weights differently then I normally would. These are all great things when it comes to a fitness routine!
  5. It can provide new friendships (or strengthen existing ones). Social support is a critical component to not only our fitness, but to our health as a whole. I was lucky enough to gain a great new friendship out of exercising!
  6. It provides an extra level of safety. I don’t workout outside after it gets dark when I’m by myself, so having someone to walk with allows me to be able to work out outdoors for half the year when I normally couldn’t. An exercise partner is also there if you get hurt or as a spotter in the gym.

I really enjoy having someone to work out with from time to time. It breaks up the week and challenges me in different ways. Of course I still enjoy having some work out time alone to think and process life, it’s certainly nice to have someone there from time to time!

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you have any workout buddies? If so, what do you enjoy about it? If not, what’s holding you back?