Like many other activities, exercising is generally more fun when done with a friend. And a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that exercising with a partner improves weight-loss results, too. Whether you’re trying to shed a few pounds or simply want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, here are some great strategies to find a fitness friend.
Go to Meetup.com
It’s tough not to be inspired by the fun things people are signing up for on this site, the world’s largest network for special-interest groups. You can find anything from a local hiking group to meet-ups for exercising with your pets — so finding someone who wants to commit to meeting up for a trail run on a Tuesday evening shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
Look on Zogsports.com
With a focus on young professionals, this organization provides a great way to sign up for intramural teams, classes, clinics and social events. Some of the proceeds go to charity, making this a worthwhile way to meet an exercise buddy.
Find LivingSocial/Groupon deals
Thanks to the deeply discounted prices for fitness-related classes, it’s easier than ever to sign up for anything from yoga classes to rock-climbing lessons. The adrenaline rush from trying something new (like trapeze or stand-up paddleboarding) can create a bond between people, so strike up a conversation with someone else in your class. Since you’re both out there trying new activities, you may discover a shared interest in running, walking or the sport that interests you most.
Ask your trainer/coach
Talk to a professional at your gym to see if she knows of anyone who is interested in finding a workout partner. The trainer may know someone who shares your skills and interests — and it never hurts to connect through a mutual acquaintance.
Reach out to friends
This may seem obvious, but working out is actually a great way to spend time with friends who you seem to lose touch with or go months without seeing. Instead of letting your busy lives get in the way of bonding time, you can take a monthly or weekly class together to stay fit and catch up on each other’s lives.
Ask around at work
Have a co-worker who seems like she’s just as interested in healthy living as you are? A colleague is a great workout buddy since you see each other every day and have similar schedules. That may provide just the motivation you need to get in the habit of a lunchtime walk or run together.
(Fitness is fuel for women who are serious about being healthy and staying strong. Online at www.fitnessmagazine.com.)
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Erin O’Donnell is a freelance health and science writer, parent, and graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Walks by Lake Michigan make her happy.