University Hospials Case Medical Center Workout Tip: Partnering Up with a Spouse or Friend Can Make It Easier to Stick to a Regimen

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Sports and psychology experts offer this tip and others for staying motivated.

Having that scheduled appointment to go for a run or a walk with someone holds you accountable.

We all know the feeling: The alarm goes off at 6 a.m., and the only thing you want to do is hit the snooze button. Or the end of the workday hits, and happy hour, not the gym, is calling your name.

But there is one thing that can be a reliable ally in the fight against laziness: an exercise companion.

Scheduling workouts with a friend or spouse makes it much more likely that you’ll follow through, says Amanda Weiss Kelly, MD, director of Pediatric Sports Medicine at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, UH Case Medical Center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Having that scheduled appointment to go for a run or a walk with someone holds you accountable.”

Get a Smart Start
If you and your partner are new to exercise or haven’t worked out in a while, start slow, choose an activity you both enjoy and get advice from an expert. Dr. Kelly suggests scheduling an appointment with a sports medicine doctor to ensure you get started on the right foot.

“What you’re really trying to do is develop a good habit,” says Jeffrey Janata, PhD, division chief of psychology at UH Case Medical Center and associate professor, Department of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Choose something that will allow you to build that habit. The best exercise is the one you actually do.”

Keep Boredom at Bay
Of course, even the most dedicated workout buddies can find their routines getting boring, or their schedules getting in the way. Here, we offer a few tips to make sure the two of you stay motivated:

  • Mark your calendar. Whether it’s three, four or five times per week, schedule your exercise session as you would any other appointment.
  • Know your weaknesses. Identify possible pitfalls and work to avoid them from the get-go. “If you’re likely to give up on a certain kind of exercise, put into place a plan to account for that,” says Dr. Janata. “Do something that is appealing to you both.”
  • Work toward a goal. If you and your partner are avid walkers, runners or cyclists, why not sign up for a community event, such as a 5k, half-marathon or bike race? Knowing that the event is approaching will keep you training, and the community involvement can help reignite your excitement for your sport.

Create an exercise plan that works for you
Not sure where to start when it comes to working out? Talk to your doctor about recommended exercises.

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