If you’re looking to improve your heart health, working out with a partner may be one of the easiest ways to do it. It requires little to no change to your workout routine, yet offers tons of heart healthy benefits. Accomplish your health goals while spending quality time with someone who motivates you to be your best self!
When you work out by yourself, it’s easy to let yourself off the hook when you don’t want to do it. But when you have a workout partner, there’s someone else counting on you to show up and give it your all. Plus, it’s much more difficult to skip a workout when you know someone is waiting for you.
It can also motivate you to work out harder or longer. Even if you’re not a competitive person, knowing that your partner is working harder than you or plans to work out for a few more minutes can motivate you to push a little harder.
Increases Heart Function
Oyxtocin is known as the “cuddle” or “love” hormone because it is released when we feel a strong connection with others. For example, many women have claimed that they don’t remember the pain associated with child birth because of that “feel good” hormone. It is also that heightened feeling of bliss associated with sex.
Oxytocin can affect your blood pressure and heart rate, improving both. These changes lead to better heart function, making the heart more efficient and less susceptible to heart problems. The effects of working out with a partner, double that impact.
At first glance, fun might not seem to be a heart health benefit. But it is, in more ways than one.
First, if you’re having fun, you’ll naturally exercise longer without realizing it. The longer you exercise, the more efficient your heart will be at regulating its pace.
Second, if you’re having fun, you’re also laughing. Laughter decreases stress hormones (as does exercise), increases good cholesterol, and makes artery inflammation better.
Safety in Numbers
Depending on your specific heart health concerns, working out with someone else can give you a sense of safety. If you’ve had a heart attack or are at risk for having one, it can be reassuring to know someone is there to call 911 or operate an AED in the case of an emergency.
Trying New Things
It’s easy to fall into a routine with exercise. The problem is that our body stops responding to routine when it isn’t being challenged. When that occurs, the benefits of that exercise decline over time. By working out with a partner, you’re less likely to get stuck in a routine.
A partner can encourage you to shake things up and try something new. Doing new and different workouts will challenge your body’s muscles to draw oxygen from circulating blood. This removes some of the stress from your heart so that it doesn’t have to pump as much blood to reach those muscles.
We all know that both exercise and spending time with friends can reduce stress. But sometimes we can cause ourselves stress by trying to figure out how to fit in both. Working out with a friend accomplishes both activities. You’ll get all the heart health benefits of working out, plus all the heart health benefits of spending time with a friend.
TIP: You can work out with the same friend each time or different friends now and then, so you get to maximize the quality time you spend with friends. As a bonus, you’ll have the benefit of working out with different levels of competition, further improving your heart health.
Working out with a partner has many advantages. Whether you work out with your significant other, a good friend, or a buddy you meet at the gym, give it a try. Your heart, and the rest of your body, will thank you.