Tips for Selecting an Exercise Partner
By Ruthy Watson, Ph.D., MSPH
Adjunct Professor, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences

We all know that exercise can be somewhat boring or even grueling, especially if you have to exercise by yourself. One way to help alleviate this issue is to find an exercise partner. Working out with an exercise partner can make the difference between looking forward to your workout and merely going through the motions.  This is because an exercise partner can help keep you motivated by providing support and encouragement when you feel frustrated and discouraged about your exercise efforts.

Furthermore, an exercise partner helps keep you accountable to your workout routines, which can make the difference in reaching your fitness goals.



How do you select an exercise partner?

  1. Look for someone who has the same workout goals as yours.  This way you will be able to share ideas on the workouts that work for you and those that need to be changed.
  2. Look for someone that has the same workout energy as yours. It is not a good idea to work out alongside someone who is highly energetic if you are not.
  3. Look for someone who has the same schedule and availability as you. Your workouts will be easier to manage and will not be stressful when trying to find a time that is doable for both of you.
  4. Try to have more than one exercise partner, so that if one is sick or away, you will have a backup. When all of you are available you can exercise together; after all, the more the merrier.
  5. Sign up with a specialized group, such as a running or activity group, as a way to be sure that that you have something in common with your exercise partner. If you are not interested in joining a group, it is a good idea to find someone who is interested in same types of activities that you enjoy.
  6. Try to find someone who is geographically desirable. In other words, you want a partner who lives in close proximity to you so travel will not be an issue.
  7. Be sure that you select someone who communicates like you do. For example, if you are not a talker, you do not want someone that talks throughout the entire workout.
  8. Ultimately, make sure you are comfortable with this person because they will become a critical part of your life, if only for a short time.

The Internet is a great place to find an exercise partner. There are numerous free sites that have community areas where members can reach out to one another and get together as geography allows. Not only could you find support and encouragement, but many members of these sites find new friends in their areas and across the country.

Another resource for finding an exercise partner is your family. Many times a spouse or other supportive family member may be interested in a little physical activity as well. It is also a good way to bond.

Exercising shouldn’t be a miserable experience. Having an exercise partner can make it fun as long as you find someone that you are compatible with. Happy searching—together you can both stay focused and fit.

Ruthy Watson, PhD, MSPH

Ruthy Watson is an adjunct professor with Kaplan University’s School of Health Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Chatham University and both her Master of Science in Public Health, and her Doctorate in Public Health and Community Health Promotion from Walden University. In addition, Dr. Watson is president and founder of Ruthy Watson’s Innovative Wellness Consulting, Inc., a health and wellness promotion organization that specializes in community programs and activities to encourage healthy living and disease prevention in South Florida. Dr. Watson has taught in traditional classroom settings and online courses in wellness education with Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Kaplan Higher Education Corporation is a division of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company.

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