And you’ll attract people to you if you’re not scowling – you’ll make more friends.
Exercise can save you money
Don’t believe me? A HealthPartners Research Foundation research study showed that people over 50 years old who started exercising only 90 minutes per week saved about $2,200 per year in medical costs. And a CDC study showed that older people who visited a health club twice a week saved over $1,200 more in healthcare costs than those who visited a health club less than that.
Sounds good to me.
How this makes sense
And it makes sense. If you’re exercising, you’re getting fitter. And you’re getting healthier. We’ve talked many times about the health benefits of exercising – It can lower your blood pressure and boost your good cholesterol (HDL). Exercise promotes better blood flow, and decreases the risk of heart disease. Plus, it can help prevent or manage other health concerns like diabetes and stroke.
Exercise has also been proven to ward off many types of cancer. Anecdotally, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a cold. Even before we all started to wear masks all the time, it had been several years since I’ve been laid low by illness (knock on wood – don’t want to jinx myself…).
Happiness after exercise
Exercise is also a mood-lifter. Those post-exercise endorphins are no myth. After a workout I’m happier and easier to be around. Just ask my sister. Exercise helps you sleep better too. And a good night’s sleep is a must-have for happiness. The world seems brighter after I burn a few hundred calories! And after a good workout there’s no guilt at eating a healthy dinner.
Exercise can save you money and attract people to you!
If you’re happier and in a good mood, you’ll be easier to be around. No scowls – more friends. People will want to be closer to you. Even with a mask on, people know if you’re scowling! More friends = more happiness. A better outlook on life. And all from a couple hours of exercise.
Your workout may be easier with a friend. After all, you’ll be sharing the misery. What’s that old saying – “Misery loves company?” Is that because if it’s shared it doesn’t feel like torture? Or because you can laugh at each other’s funny faces as you grimace through the hard parts?
You’re doing the work
Exercise, unless you’re doing specific pairs exercises, though, is a solitary endeavor. When you run, it’s your legs doing the work. Not someone else’s. It’s you who is lifting that heavy weight. You’re the one who is struggling to stay on her feet as you near the finish line. And you are the only one responsible for your success – or your failure.
A friend’s motivation can help
But a friend can really keep you motivated on your fitness journey. It’s not easy at the best of times to stay on the straight and narrow path of an exercise program. Someone to talk to, to commiserate with, can help you stick with your plan. You may hate the same exercises, and dread when a certain yoga pose is coming up in the flow. And you can agree that the best part of a workout is the final stretch and cool-down.
You don’t even have to be together
But in these days of pandemic separation, how do you exercise with a friend? Many gyms have closed. You’re nervous about being out of breath with a mask on. You don’t even want to be close to other people.
To get the support of a friend, though, you don’t actually have to exercise together or even do the same workout. You can both exercise and then arrange to get on a Zoom or Facetime call at a specific time to talk about your respective workouts. That might even be more fun than exercising together – because it’s really hard to talk if your workout is effective! You’ll have the accountability we all need to stick to an exercise program. And it’s fun to complain with someone who knows exactly what you’re experiencing.
Important for support and accountability
I wrote about the importance of having your friends and family support your healthy lifestyle plan a while ago. It’s still important to have that support and accountability. Your friends and family are your support system, which we all need to be happy and resilient these days. Yes, it’s possible to go it alone. You can stick to any plan you design. But it’s easier with others.