No Workout Buddy? Virtual Partners Motivate Just as Well

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/21/2011 10:00 AM   :  20 comments   :  15,312 Views

I lived in Memphis for a few years and had a great running partner when I was there.  Some days we'd meet at 4:30 a.m. to squeeze in a speed workout before starting the rest of the day.  Would I have gotten up that early to run in the dark on my own?  Probably not.  Since we both moved away, I haven't found another partner who can easily meet when I'm free and wants to train for the same distances.  I do most of my runs solo these days, which can be tough for motivation.   
 
Working out with a buddy can make the experience more enjoyable, and also push you to work harder than you would have alone. But what happens when you don't have someone to do it with you?  Are you doomed to fall off of the exercise bandwagon?  Not necessarily.  A new study reveals that working out with a virtual partner can help increase motivation.
 
The study, published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, used video games to measure if a virtual partner had an impact on how hard or how frequently participants exercised.  "Participants performed the first series of five exercises alone holding each position for as long as they could. After a rest period, they were told they would do the remaining trials with a same-sex virtual partner whom they could observe during their performance. The partner's performance was manipulated to be always superior to the participant's."  The participants exercised an average of 24% longer with a virtual workout partner who was more fit than them, versus those without. 
 
Researchers found that some people are intimidated by live workout partners, especially if that person is faster, stronger, etc.  Virtual workout partners also remove some of the anxiety that can be associated with exercising in public.  Video games (such as Wii Fit or Playstation 2) or workout videos can be a great partner that pushes you to work harder or longer than you would have alone.  SparkPeople has a wide selection of cardio and strength videos to choose from, so check them out!
 
Do you use virtual workouts as part of your exercise routine?  Why or why not?   


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Comments

  • BUDDY01740
    20
    Welcome to Buddy Desk – Powerful Virtual Assistnace Company
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    - 5/15/2013   2:57:17 AM
  • BUDDY01740
    19
    Welcome to Buddy Desk – Powerful Virtual Assistnace Company
    Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.
    Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. - 5/15/2013   2:56:33 AM
  • SUZZIQ6
    18
    I enjoyed the article on Virtual exercise partners but I need a live someone to motivate me. Thank you for Sparkpeople. - 7/29/2011   11:52:46 AM
  • 17
    I use virtual through the Wii. Prefer real ones though - 7/25/2011   8:14:17 PM
  • 16
    I love working with my virtual friend on Wii Fit and doing the youtube workouts with Tracy Anderson are so fun and make time fly! - 7/24/2011   9:30:37 PM
  • 15
    I find guided yoga routines like the YogaFit audio CD workout for travelers to be helpful. There are both structured instructions, as well as movement sequences to do at your own pace. Sometimes, when you are just learning a movement, or you know that you can't keep up with the pace or match the movements of the lead instructor, it's less intimidating to do the routine without having to be told when to do every move, and to move to your own pace.

    I enjoyed this post, Coach Jen, as well as the comments by others. - 7/23/2011   6:49:19 AM
  • LIZAPO
    14
    Good ideas, I to have been doing this along and Sparkpeople website has helped out soo much and has given me some ideas that I have implemented and its working. - 7/22/2011   8:14:06 PM
  • 13
    I just couldn't do exercise with anyone, but with wii fit and videos, it's just like having someone with you, even if they are a little speech-challenged or repetative! If onlt they could do a selection of conversations, I'd be well away! ;)

    Sue - 7/22/2011   10:41:17 AM
  • 12
    I've never had a workout partner but have enjoyed working out with a video. - 7/22/2011   1:03:28 AM
  • DAWN58703
    11
    I am using the Tracy Anderson Design Series. It reminds me of a cross between pilates, ballet and belly dancing. Believe it or not, it's fun! - 7/21/2011   9:10:12 PM
  • BUTCH2150
    10
    i have a virtual trainerthe wii and without some1 with me i think who will know i havnt done excersised for today, i now have my 18 year old son to power walk with me and he works me hard.... xx
    - 7/21/2011   5:04:12 PM
  • 9
    I find that not only do I use a virtual partner/trainer (EA Active 2 for the Wii) but I talk back to "her" too. LOL - 7/21/2011   4:11:15 PM
  • 8
    I purchased a Wii and also Julian Michael's games---but haven't started them yet. I'm going to use this blog as a motivation. Thanks, Coach Jen! - 7/21/2011   3:59:42 PM
  • 7
    I love my virtual sparing partner on my Knock Out Body Wii game. I'm sure a real person would be better but no one else is going to be in my living room at 5 am ready to go and not caring about my attire! - 7/21/2011   2:08:15 PM
  • 6
    I don't think that virtual workout partners do the same as a real person. It is easier to avoid a computer screen or DVD than a real person. You can always make excuses not to turn on that TV, but whne someone is standing in front of you, it's so much harder to say no!

    Once the DVD or video game (etc.) is on, I think that virtual workout partners help! To me, the games that have a "personal trainer" vs. the DVDs that simply play and are not as interactive are better. It is easier to have a game that can be calibrated to you versus a DVD that is always stagnet. - 7/21/2011   12:29:04 PM
  • 5
    I take ecouragement from Wii fit and Biggest Looser. There is something about trying to unlock new exersizes and seeing your CAL's burned that helps you continue on. - 7/21/2011   12:07:32 PM
  • 4
    I read an article lately where a gal found herself jogging a lot on her own. She started thinking about dogs at humane shelters lonely and aching for some exercise, and now every time she jogs she goes and gets a different dog at the shelter to jog with; bringing so much pleasure to her, and these lonely dogs. I think that is So Awesome!! - 7/21/2011   11:58:51 AM
  • PRINCEPADDY
    3
    anything that helps or encourages gets a big thumbs up from me! - 7/21/2011   11:49:29 AM
  • 2
    I use fitness videos and it is nice but nothing beats having a real person. I know people are turning more and more to virtual but personally, I like a living and breathing human or animal. Virtual is a good second but does not outshine the real thing. - 7/21/2011   11:47:03 AM
  • 1
    I definitely use the virtual workout partners -- from SP videos to Wii exercise games to TV fitness videos/shows. They are definitely good for me.

    Enjoyed the blog, Coach Jen. - 7/21/2011   10:56:49 AM

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