A young couple exercising together to reap the health benefits of a workout together.

By now, we're familiar with the benefits of exercise: it helps with weight loss and weight management, and it lowers risks of diseases like Type 2 diabetes. It also helps to reduce stress and improve mood.

But did you know that exercising with others brings additional social and health benefits?

Benefits of a Workout Buddy

Having a workout partner who's working towards the same fitness goals as you—like losing that spare tire, reducing your body fat or hitting 10K steps daily—will give you added motivation. Workout routines are also a lot more fun when you're doing it with a friend.

Plus, when you're feeling lazy and want to lepak, it helps to have someone pushing and cheering you on. Your workout buddy also keeps you accountable to your workout plans.

Say you planned a morning hike at the MacRitchie Reservoir TreeTop Walk with a friend. Or perhaps you've agreed to spot each other when you're lifting weights at the gym this Sunday.

You'll think twice about hitting the snooze button: you don't want to pang seh (abandon) your buddy, do you?

If you have more than one buddy, try team sports. Playing in a team can help with your social and mental well-being and build teamwork. Set up a fitness interest group to find teammates who like the same type of exercise!

Now let's look at some ideas to get you and your kakis moving!

Set Buddy Goals

Set exercise goals with your workout buddy: this gives you something to focus on and work towards.

Make sure your goals are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

For example, your shared goal could be: “Jog for 30 minutes, three days a week by the end of three months.” It's specific, measurable, and attainable (jog 30 minutes, three days a week), the three-month period also makes it realistic and time-bound.

Start small by going for a 10-minute jog with your buddy once a week. Track your progress, then slowly work your way up to your goal. For example:

  • Week 1: Jog for 10 minutes once a week
  • Week 4: Jog for 10 minutes two days a week
  • Week 8: Jog for 20 minutes three days a week
  • Week 12: Jog for 30 minutes three days a week

Friendly Competition With Your Fitness Buddy

You and your buddy can also spur each other on with a little friendly competition to improve your fitness. Challenge each other to see who can jog the longest without walking!

Or compete for most number of steps in a week! (Hint: Invite your buddies to join the walking challenge in this app and see who emerges top of the pack.)

Bond While You Burn Calories

Exercising is a good way to spend quality time with family members and friends, especially when it's a fun physical activity that doesn't even feel like exercise.

Have a family picnic at Sentosa and play a game of beach volleyball or frisbee. Or head to Changi beach with the kids to cycle and embark on a Pikachu hunt on Pokémon Go.

Prefer somewhere with air-con? Go brisk-walking at the mall and bond with your friends over bargain-hunting, or play a round of laser tag with your buddies and work together to eliminate the enemy.

Fun New Activities to Keep Fit

Shake things up by trying new activities with your exercise buddies. Find a workout that you've never tried before. Here are some ideas to get you started: rock climbing, indoor trampoline, kickboxing, dragon boat racing, and bubble soccer.

Staying fit by exploring different activities doesn't mean breaking the bank! Some local malls like OneKM and The Star Vista offer free exercise classes, for example, Zumba and kickboxing.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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