Many of us struggle to keep ourselves motivated when it comes to exercise. It takes time, it’s a hassle, and once you’re at the gym, nothing but repetitive tedium awaits, lovely. However, we also all know that getting active has never been more important – not just for our physical health, but as a way to deal with stress and anxiety too. If you hate exercising, then you’re not alone – and therein lies the key to success! Just don’t do it alone.
Exercising as part of a group has been a fascinating field of study for a long time, and whether it’s because we’re more motivated to do our best when we know people are watching us, or whether that ‘pack mentality’ has something to do with, it’s been shown over and over again that people partaking in exercise as a group are more motivated, exercise harder and for longer, and most importantly, enjoy the exercise far more than those who go it alone. Here are a few fun ways you can take advantage of this quirk of human psychology!
Use your friends for target practice:
Whether you’re fighting on the same side or convert into arch nemeses for the day, paintballing with friends has to be one of the most absorbing physical activities out there. The great advantage of this kind of exercise is that it doesn’t feel like exercise – it feels like fun! And while you’re trying to capture the flag, rescue a ‘hostage’ or simply take out your enemies, you’ll be doing some running, crawling, dodging and diving for cover that delivers a full body workout too. Even better, venues like Canada Paintballing take the fantasy up a notch with super realistic movie set, video game and historical scenarios that are guaranteed to take your mind off the exercise component completely.
Explore the great outdoors with some good mates
Did you know that hikers tend to be happier than their peers? It makes sense if you think about it, as spending time in nature has long been a favorite way to unwind, remind yourself not to sweat the small stuff, and gain a bit of perspective on your problems. And starting a hiking group is just one way you can take advantage – mountain biking, kayaking and white water rafting all make great team exercises. If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, then learning to surf, windsurf or kite surf together can be a really rewarding experience. And aside from the physical activity, it gives you a chance to connect with nature and your friends too.
Wii, Wii, Wii, all the way to fitness!
If you live in a tiny apartment in the city and venturing into the outdoors isn’t an option, then there’s nothing wrong with roping in some handy techno-gadgets to get a good workout! Wii tennis, dancing and boxing games all lend themselves well to a group workout. And if you find it’s working for you, then investing in a Wii Fit Plus could be the alternative to the gym you’ve been longing for.
Shake it off with a spicy dance class
Music and exercise have always made great companions, and there’s no better way to use that to your advantage than with an exciting dance class. And there’s an almost endless variety of styles to choose from – from spicy salsa, tango and Zumba to energetic bhangra and tap dancing, even break dancing or Bollywood-inspired BollyX dance classes, the rhythm is definitely gonna get you. (Moving, that is!)
Use a cause to inspire you
Finding a cause you believe in can be a great motivator, and working together with friends towards a shared goal can make sticking to your fitness goals that much easier. Whether you’re training to run a marathon or hike for charity together, or even volunteering to walk the doggies at the local shelter, it will be more than just the endorphins that have you feeling great!
Unleash your inner warrior
Getting together with your girlfriends to take part in a martial arts or self-defense course can give you a sense of accomplishment as well as a good workout, and it’s a major boost for your confidence and self-esteem too. And what guy doesn’t want to learn a few moves to make him feel like an action star, eh?
The best part about working out with friends is that it means not all of the pressure to stay motivated and exert your will power lies with you. When one member’s motivation is flagging, then they’ve got the rest of the group to offer encouragement, support, and maybe even a little nagging when required! After all, what are friends for?