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5 Reasons You Should Reconsider Working Out Alone

Working out with a buddy or group can make it easier to stay consistent and help you perform better, among other benefits.

Kim Wong-Shing Former Senior Associate Editor / Wellness
During her time at CNET, Kim Wong-Shing loved demystifying the world of wellness to make it accessible to any reader. She was also passionate about exploring the intersections of health, history and culture. Prior to joining CNET, she contributed stories to Glamour, MindBodyGreen, Greatist and other publications.
Expertise Nutrition, personal care, mental health, LGBTQ+ health Credentials
  • Reads health studies in her sleep.
Kim Wong-Shing
3 min read
Group of runners on a park trail.
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If you struggle to stay motivated to exercise regularly, you're not alone -- and you don't have to be alone when you work out, either. Working out with a friend or group can be the difference between maintaining a consistent exercise routine and letting it slide, research shows. And the health benefits of having some company during your workout go beyond the benefits of physical activity itself. 

You might choose to invite a friend or spouse, hire a personal trainer or join a group workout class. Whatever method you choose, there are many good reasons to work out with others instead of alone. Here's what to know.

Accountability = consistency

There's nothing like knowing somebody's waiting on you to motivate you to actually show up and stay until the end of your workout. And the more you get into the habit, the easier it is to stay consistent. Partnering up with a friend who's already active can also help rub off on you for the better. 

Research confirms that working out with a friend makes you more likely to remain physically active in the long term. It also puts you in good company: Social connection is one of the most common reasons athletes work out, a survey from Strava found, and over half are most motivated by family or friends who exercise. 

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Better performance

The benefits of a workout buddy don't end once you show up. Working out with someone can help motivate you to do your best; you and your partner can help push each other when you feel like throwing in the towel. You can help support each other to keep going -- and a little friendly competition doesn't hurt either.

When you're motivated to put in your best effort each workout, you're more likely to see and feel the results you want. One study found that even a virtual workout partner improved the performance of participants doing plank exercises, while another found that people did twice as much aerobic exercise when paired with a partner.

Fun and variety

Working out with a buddy or group can also be a lot of fun. You might find yourself laughing, smiling and generally having a better time when you're exercising with people you like. In a 2013 study, people who worked out with a friend or spouse reported feeling happier and enjoying the workout more than when alone. The more you enjoy yourself, the more likely you are to continue doing it.

Plus, you may be more willing to try new things when you have someone to join you, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That sense of adventure can help prevent you from getting stuck in a plateau or a fitness funk.

Brain health

Group workouts are more than just a workout, they're also a hangout session. That means they carry the added benefits of social connection, which is great for your physical, mental and brain health

Staying socially connected is especially important as you age. A 2023 study in Japan found that while any exercise lowered the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, working out with others had the lowest risk of all. That included exercising with a spouse, kids or grandkids, a trainer or a friend. 

Group yoga class in a lotus meditation position.
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Safety

Lastly, depending on your workout of choice, having someone there to spot you or point out if you're doing anything incorrectly (especially if they're more experienced) can be helpful. That's especially important for strength training or other workouts that require specific form and carry the risk of injury. You might also appreciate having safety in numbers if you like hiking or running outdoors.

Bottom line

Any physical activity is good for your health, whether solo or with others. But if you're struggling to stay consistent, combining exercise with a social activity can help boost your motivation, keep you accountable and make the experience more fun. 

If you decide to try a class or join a friend, remember to stay in tune with your body to ensure you're not pushing yourself too far. For more on sustainable fitness, check out why sleep is key to a good workout and how to sneak more exercise into your daily routine.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.