Tips, Tricks and Benefits to Exercising with a Pal

Partnership is an important aspect not only in the workplace and home but also when it comes to exercise. It is a known fact that 60% of people prefer to workout on their own but there is still that 35-40% who like the idea of collaboration. In a study conducted by Stanford research unveiled that having a person or group that you check in with at least once a week can increase your exercise time by up to 78% over the course of a year! This check in can be either through email, phone, meetings, websites or working out together.

A few tips, tricks and benefits to partnerships are below:

1. Choose someone with a similar fitness goal as yours. If you’re trying to lose 30 lbs and your partner only needs to lose 10, it can be discouraging if they hit their goal before you. You may end up feeling like you’re holding them back or get frustrated that your weight loss or fitness level isn’t being achieved fast enough.

2. Find someone you have something in common with besides just exercise. Perhaps it’ll be your shared love of the outdoors, your kids, a love of sports or travel. These things will keep you looking forward to seeing each other the next time and help develop a sense of comradery.

3. A partnership drastically decreases in excuses not to exercise. It’s hard knowing you’re letting someone down and that means that it will be harder to cancel on a workout.

4. You’ll be more likely to try new things with someone. Never rock climbed before? Pairing up with someone who has or even going in with both of you clueless gives you the advantage of not being so scared. Perhaps even make it a goal that when you get together with someone you try something new or go somewhere new.

5. Group classes are included in the partnership category! If you go to a class several times you’ll likely meet and bond with people from that class. This means that you’ll have already found someone with a common interest, most likely a common fitness level, it’s a chance to try a workout you’ve always wanted and once you get going people will start holding you accountable for showing up and heck, you might even really enjoy showing up!

No matter if you prefer exercising solo, as a duo or in a class, just make sure you have someone to check in with. They can be your inspiration for when you are just not feeling it, you can take pride in being theirs or just the mere thought of uttering the words, “I didn’t get to the gym/run/class this week”, has a great affect on whether you’ll stick with your routine. Even if you do stick with it on your own having someone to share that with will keep you going longer and stronger. So partner up and get moving!

Be more creative – take a walk

Via the NYT:

Exercise has long been linked anecdotally to creativity. For millenniums, writers and artists have said that they develop their best ideas during a walk, although some of us also do our best procrastinating then. But little science has supported the idea that exercise aids creativity.

Until now! Researchers at Standford University decided to test out the theory that walking improves creativity, and they got fantastic results:

For almost every student, creativity increased substantially when they walked. Most were able to generate about 60 percent more uses for an object, and the ideas were both “novel and appropriate”


So great. Though it is perhaps what we all already knew instinctively. I certainly feel creatively regenerated post-walk. Read the full article on the New York Times:

Want to be more creative? Take a walk


New Study Shows: Walk faster, live longer

A new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that the intensity of the pace of our walk matters just as much as the amount of walking we do.

The study focused on longevity amongst 38,981 participants that walked daily. Walkers had varying paces, some were speedy, some ambled, some strolled. It turns out that those who walked at a brisk pace were healthier and although a bit ghoulish, outlived the slow walkers.

So how do we know if we’re walking fast enough? To measure your speed you can use your Pebble or Omron pedometers, an app like Moves or find a 400 meter track at a local school, then use a stopwatch to time your walk.

And then what? Healthy exercise guidelines want us to aim for 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise. For walkers, this means we should aim for a pace of 15 to 16 minutes per mile.

Let’s pick up the pace Walkers and remember to stay happy and healthy – Read more about it at The New York Times


“We are built to walk” – Gretchen Reynolds talks about the latest science on exercise

I really enjoyed NYT writer Gretchen Reynolds interview about her book “The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer“, with Dr. Naimon in his Healthwatch Podcast (listen here or subscribe on iTunes).

She dispels a lot of myths based on recent science: Is running really bad for your knees? Can something as simple as standing dramatically improve your health? What are humans better at than all other mammals (spoiler: Walking!) Can you be overweight and fit?

If you’re looking for info on the latest research on fitness/exercise and its effects on the body and mind, this is a really excellent interview. Or if you’re looking for the best way to start up an exercise program that will have large long-term benefits — start here. I’m buying the book now.



Which is better: Walking or Running?

These are the two most popular forms of exercise in the United States. Which one wins?

A couple of new studies show that it depends.

Controlling weight? Running wins

Heart disease? Walking wins this one.

“It bears repeating that either walking or running is healthier than not doing either,” Dr. Williams said, whatever your health goals.

Read the results of the various studies at the New York Times


By now, we all should know that exercise makes us smarter

But do we stay smart if we stop exercising?

i.e.: What happens to your brain if you fail to keep those New Year’s resolutions?

This question was tackled by researches at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The studies were, I think, startling as always: Rats who exercised generated twice as many memory cells as inactive rats, making them perform much better than their inactive compatriots. Sounds great!

The bad news: three to six weeks of inactivity and slothfulness later, all positive memory affects of the exercise had worn off. Diligence wins again.

Read the full story: Do the Brain Benefits of Exercise Last? in the New York Times.


Keeping the mind sharp into age

There’s a great article at the New York Times today called A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond which details a massive study on cognitive function and aging, called Midus.

One of the largest take-aways from the study, is how much better the mind continues to function with mental exercise. Specifically, a college degree, but also with continuing mental exercises. What else isn’t surprising? Physical exercise has a positive impact on our cognitive abilities.

I loved this quote:

Senior citizens who performed as well as younger adults in fluid intelligence tended to share four characteristics in addition to having a college degree and regularly engaging in mental workouts: they exercised frequently; they were socially active, frequently seeing friends and family, volunteering or attending meetings; they were better at remaining calm in the face of stress; and they felt more in control of their lives.

I’m happy to report that we can help with at least three of those four: Walking has been proven to relieve stress, our social tools can make you feel involved and connected to those around you, and, of course, we are at heart a tool to help promote and track exercise.



Exercise: Get a new brain.

I’ll leave it to you to puzzle through the article’s abstract, accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience, but I think the title says it fairly aptly:

Little Exercise, Big Effects: Reversing Aging and Infection-Induced Memory Deficits, and Underlying Processes 

“…this small amount of exercise was sufficient to completely reverse infection-induced impairments in hippocampus-dependent long-term memory compared with sedentary animals”

Translation: Exercise, even a little, repairs your brain.



The trouble with sitting (spoiler: it’s killing you)

Medical Billing and Coding produced this incredible, and incredibly compelling infographic on the harms of sitting. Yes, sitting. I’ll be getting up and walking around my desk now…
Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Live three minutes longer for every minute you walk

Have I posted this before?

These are the calculations of Alan Durning whose family spent a year of living without a car. From Car-less living can add years to your life:

“Just so, walking doesn’t consume time, for different reasons. In fact, walking creates time…walking gives you time you wouldn’t otherwise have at all. Walking makes you live longer…The largest ever study of the subject found that walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, adds 1.3-1.5 years to your life, on average.”

He goes on to calculate the three minutes for every one minute of walking. A great figure, to be sure, but the benefits are quite a bit deeper than that. He took his figures from a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine. From a Seattle Times article:

The findings show that even for people who are already middle-age, exercising more can add years to their lives, Franco said. “This shows it’s never too late to start following a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to start exercising.”

“The findings show that even for people who are already middle-age, exercising more can add years to their lives, Franco said. “This shows it’s never too late to start following a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to start exercising.

Previous studies have found that being physically active has a host of health benefits. It reduces the risk of being overweight and of developing many illnesses, improves overall quality of life and lowers the mortality rate. But the new study is the first to directly calculate the effect on how long people live.

In addition, recent studies have found that exercise has payoffs for the mind, too. It has been shown to improve overall well-being, reduce stress and depression and cut the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, several experts said.

“The benefits of physical activity extend well beyond the effects on longevity,” said JoAnn Manson of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Read the article in the Seattle Times:

People who exercise regularly really do live longer, study finds