Alone But Not Lonely: Working Out With Others During A Pandemic. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across the world today has upended life as we know it. Activities that we used to enjoy doing and take for granted, such as going to a restaurant with friends, having a quick weekend getaway to another country, or working out at the gym. These things we are now unable to do in full.The fitness industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. The nature of gyms, with their equipment situated close to one another. Being used multiple times a day by different people, make social distancing nearly impossible. As a result, people who used to enjoy working out are resorting to working out by themselves in their own homes.
Photo Credit by Pexel
However, is there a possibility of still maintaining the social aspect of working out during a pandemic? Is it possible to be alone but not lonely, and find a way to stay connected with others when working out in your own home? Why is that desirable in the first place?
Let’s have a look at some benefits of working out with others and move on to see how this can be done safely during a pandemic.
Benefits Of Working Out With Others
If you have a habit of exercising with a fitness partner, you would be well familiar with the benefits of working out with others. Let’s break down some of these benefits:
One of the most obvious benefits of teaming up with someone else to work out with is that you get the commitment of another person to pursue the same fitness goals. The old saying, “two is better than one”, comes to mind.
One of the biggest enemies of achieving your fitness goals is the fading motivation to do so, especially when life gets busy and you don’t see results immediately. With a friend around committing to working out with you regularly, you have an added reason to keep pushing through. Research carried out at Kansas State University discovered that those who worked out with someone they thought was better than them increased their intensity and workout time by 200 percent. By encouraging your workout partner, and by the workout partner doing the same to you, the flames of motivation can be kept alive.
Oftentimes when you work out by yourself, you start to develop certain habits, such as using the gym equipment a certain type of way at a certain amount of resistance. When you work out alone, you rarely challenge yourself to improve your technique to achieve better results.
This changes when working out with a fitness partner. Having a fitness partner around means having an extra pair of eyes to observe you when you are working out. The fitness partner can then correct you if you make any mistakes in working out, such as using gym equipment wrongly or having the wrong posture. This makes for better fitness results.
Socializing After Working Out
The great thing about working out with a friend or partner is that once both of you are tired from your workout, you have the option of going somewhere nice, such as a restaurant or a bar, to unwind. As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” After a challenging session at the gym, it is nice to be able to reward yourself by having a good meal or enjoying a good drink with friends.
Sometimes merely spending time with people who are committed to their fitness goals can contribute to your overall health. A study done in 2016 showed that overweight people tend to lose more weight when they spend more time with fit friends.
This might not be practical during the pandemic, but socializing in any shape or form can still be really beneficial. It can be as simple as catching up about each other’s lives and asking how each other is doing. The point is that with others around, working out doesn’t have to be the only thing that is being done – life can be shared and burdens alleviated.
Challenges of Working Out Alone
While having a fitness lifestyle in which you mainly work out alone can have its benefits, such as better concentration, more time to meditate, and so on, there are some distinct challenges or disadvantages of not working out with a fitness partner.
When you choose to work out alone, you only have your own fitness goals to motivate you. So much of fitness is about setting a fitness goal and being disciplined day in and day out to achieve the goal.
Photo Credit by Pexels
Some people have ways to draw out inner motivation from themselves and keep pushing through until they achieve their fitness goals; however, some might find that difficult to achieve alone. For one, exercising can be fairly monotonous, and without someone to interact with, the workout mood can slide into one of boredom rather quickly. When a workout ceases to become fun, there is a higher chance that you might quit.
Therefore, having a friend around might make workouts less boring and more interactive and interesting.
Safety When Using Heavy Weights
If you have ever done a bench press, which is to pull a bar towards your chest while lying on your back and push it back up, you would know that this can be a dangerous move if you are not fully prepared. If your arms begin to wobble, you can accidentally drop the bar and seriously injure yourself.
Photo Credit by Pexels
In fact, when dealing with heavy weights in the gym, the presence of another person is important. This is because if any accidents occur when you’re attempting to lift heavy weights, your friend can be there to rescue you. If you are working out alone and an accident happens when you’re lifting heavy weights, you have a high chance of being injured – and some of these injuries can be permanent. Thus, lifting heavy weights is always safest with the presence of a friend around.
Working Out With Others During A Pandemic
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has changed the rules of life so drastically, and we see this clearly when it comes to the area of working out. For many, working out is a part of life – after a long day of work at the office, many decide to pop into the gym to sweat a little before heading home. However, social distancing rules make working out in the gym safely to be quite difficult. More and more people are opting to exercise at home.
The online fitness industry is experiencing a boom during these pandemic times as more and more people begin to see personal home gym equipment as a good investment. This means that fitness products like yoga mats, medicinal balls, and barbells are flying off the shelves.
So you’re done with your work for the day, and you want to have a workout in your home. You have your home fitness equipment with you, but you are all alone. You begin to miss interacting with your fitness partners. What options are there for you to still feel connected with others during a pandemic?
Connecting Through Video Call
One thing that has changed drastically during these pandemic times is that the usage of video calls, particularly Zoom calls, has skyrocketed. People now use video calls for business meetings, online learning, and casual conversations.
Photo Credit by Pexels
We have also reached an Internet age. Internet speeds are generally fast enough for you to interact with people. Images are rarely blurry to the point of being unrecognizable, and the audio quality tends to be good enough to carry a conversation.
One tip for staying connected with others when working out is to schedule a video call with friends. You can both work out at the same time. All you need to do to make this work is to have a stable Internet-connected device such as a laptop or a phone. Once you are connected online to your fitness partner, you can plan the workout, execute, and encourage one another in the process.
Although this method may seem unappealing for those who have not tried it, it is actually very workable in real life, and you should give it a go. With practice, it will feel like your fitness partner is right there in the room with you.
Follow Along An Online Fitness Class
There is now an abundance of high-quality fitness apps that allow you to watch group studio classes and join along. These classes may be prerecorded or live, but that is beside the point. You still get to feel like you are part of a larger group of like-minded, highly motivated people. These classes tend to have specially crafted music that time with the fitness moves, which makes them enjoyable to follow along.
Les Mills On Demand is a popular fitness subscription app that contains hundreds of pre-recorded group studio fitness programs that you can follow along to. Les Mills is a New Zealand powerhouse fitness brand. They are renowned for their highly energetic, fun, and effective workout programs. With this app, they have compiled a library of workout recordings that anyone can join along. They have different levels of difficulties, from easy to super hard.
Photo Credit by Pexels
Strong Nation is another popular fitness program that combines dancing with martial arts to achieve a total body workout. Their fitness classes are fun, challenging, and allow users to push themselves to their next fitness level. They also offer virtual classes,you can subscribe to their program and watch an instructor do a live class. All you need is some space around you and you’re good to go!
If you already enjoy doing in-person group fitness classes, you will enjoy this concept above. If you have never tried one, it might be hard to follow to the moves set by the instructor. However, during these pandemic times when any social interaction is better than none. It might be a great idea to give these online fitness classes a try. You might just end up feeling less alone, more motivated, and more fit!
A Word On Staying Motivated During A Pandemic
We have seen earlier how working out with a fitness partner can help you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals. This is especially so when the world is facing a pandemic unlike anything we have faced in a century.
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on human lives and livelihoods – hundreds of thousands already dead, and hundreds of thousands more ill. Life, as we knew it just a few months ago, is no longer the life now – social interaction has been severely limited, the global economy is shrinking, and worse still, the end is currently not in sight.
This means that mental health problems are on the rise as people see huge losses in their personal lives and their careers. Marriages delayed, funerals limited, and job offers rescinded.
Many people take comfort in being able to work out. We enjoy breaking a sweat and pushing aside worries for just a few hours when we are at the gym.
Now, gym access across the world is severely limited. And as more and more people are forced to work out at home, even this solace has been taken away.
Therefore, staying happy and motivated while working out at home has become more difficult.
This is why it is worth investing with love ones that have a passion for working out. Earlier in the article, we explored how this could be done. Scheduling video calls to work out together virtually, or signing up to an online virtual class experience. These are all ways to alleviate the mental strain that the pandemic is causing everyone. It is also a solid steps to maintaining a sane, happy life.
Besides exercising together, it is also worth encouraging and motivating each other through regular calls and text messages. In a time of such darkness in the world, we need to look out for each other. Not just in the area of fitness, but ideally in all areas of life as well.
As we have seen in this article, working out during the pandemic need not be a lonely time. With the help of technology, you can stay connected with fitness enthusiasts, motivate others, and in turn be motivated yourself.
Working out with others will improve your mood, improve your technique, and help you reach your fitness goals. Although you may be forced to be apart due to social distancing regulations, you need not be lonely. You have the ability to stay connected and engaged with your friends and families and achieve your fitness goals together.
With all the benefits of working out with others, why not try it today? Schedule a video call with a friend and get started!
Other related topics you might like to read:
- Why should you start a Bodyweight exercise regimen?
- How to Lose Weight Safely in Under Two Weeks?
- 15 Best Keto Friendly Brands
- Les Mills On Demand https://www.lesmills.com/ondemand/
- Strong Nation https://strong.zumba.com/en-US
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases (2020) Coping With Stress.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
- Worldometer (2020) Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
- Evans (2020) How Zoom Became So Popular During Social Distancing. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/how-zoom-rose-to-the-top-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic.html
- Andersson, Christakis (2016) Desire for weight loss, weight‐related social contact, and body mass outcomes. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/oby.21512
- Kansas State University (2012) Burning More Calories Is Easier When Working Out with Someone You Perceive as Better. https://www.newswise.com/articles/burning-more-calories-is-easier-when-working-out-with-someone-you-perceive-as-better
- Merchlinsky (2020) With millions stuck at home, the online wellness industry is booming. https://www.economist.com/international/2020/04/04/with-millions-stuck-at-home-the-online-wellness-industry-is-booming
- The World Bank (2020) COVID-19 to Plunge Global Economy into Worst Recession since World War II