Social Support In Exercise
Having the social support of a friend during exercise has proven to increase people’s desire to exercise, to put in more effort, and to accomplish goals. Whether your friend is already a WellBound member or they haven’t joined yet make sure they are the right person to help you on your exercise journey.
Five main types of social support exist, the right exercise partner for you is able to support you in all five categories, consider choosing someone with the following qualities:
Instrumental support- This person has similar physical abilities as you so you will want to do similar exercises or take similar classes, they can drive you to the gym when necessary, or help you reach equipment you need, just to name a few. This person understands that you both have needs to succeed and is willing to help you obtain the tools you need to meet them.
Emotional support- This person is able to express encouragement, caring, empathy, and concern toward your wellbeing. They praise you when you succeed and empathize with you when you struggle in your exercises.
Informational support- This person keeps an eye out for new classes you should try, shares their tips and tricks to success, and is up to date with the goings on at your gym, such as hour changes or closed days that may affect your schedule.
Companionship support- This person has a similar schedule as yours and you are able to coordinate exercise times that work for you. You should have enough non exercise related things in common with each other to talk about that they take your mind off of the “negatives” of exercise for you, like boredom and fatigue.
Validation support: This person is of similar health to yours, you have similar goals, and are starting off “in the same boat.” You both struggle sometimes and you both accomplish your own goals. Seeing them succeed makes you want to succeed that much more. They have lifestyle habits that you admire, this will encourage you to follow their example and to set your own positive example for them to follow.
We would love to meet your potential new exercise partner. Friends of members are welcome to try one class for free. Please call ahead to let us know which class they are wanting to come to. Looking for an exercise partner but don’t have anybody in mind yet? Ask us and maybe another WellBound member is looking as well that we can connect you with.
Lox, C., Anne, M. G., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2010). The psychology of exercise: Integrating theory and practice (3rd ed.). Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway.