Friends don’t let friends skip a workout

To put a new spin on a very old saying, the road to disease is paved with good intentions. And when it comes to exercise, no truer words have ever been spoken.

I’m always urging you to get up and move more — even if it’s just a 20 minute walk around the block. But if you’re anything like most people in this country, you start your day with every intention of squeezing in a workout. Only to end up on the couch after dinner, vowing to make time tomorrow instead.

It’s a common problem. So it’s a good thing the solution is so simple — at least according to one recent study.

A team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen have found that having a “workout buddy” can help you exercise more.

As part of this study — published recently in the British Journal of Health Psychology — researchers divided participants into two groups. Half found a new exercise partner, while the other half carried on with their normal routines.

Lo and behold, the group with exercise partners wound up exercising more than those who flew solo. But that’s not all.

This study also examined what kind of characteristics make for the best exercise partner.

A gym buddy that offered emotional and social support — like encouragement — led to more exercise than a partner who simply showed up on time for every session. In other words, it’s not enough just to break a sweat next to someone. You also need to be on the same team.

Not exactly surprising findings…but it’s nice to have hard evidence that good friends really can be lifesavers.