Friends are the foundation of life. Everything worth doing in life, you do alongside your friends and exercise is no exception.
Running trails is less lonely when catching up with a friend, and doing a round of golf with an old pal burns far more calories than a happy hour meet-up. Making the conscious decision to swap out your unhealthy habits and influences with healthy ones is life-changing. You benefit not only your own health but your friends’ and your wallets.
Admittedly it’s easier to meet up for lunch or a drink than to arrange a workout. Nonetheless, it is worth it in the end because you’re killing two birds with one stone and once you get into the routine, it’s way more fun than drinking your calories.
Regardless of what activity you’re doing, you’ll be meeting up with friends for the rest of your life. Imagine how much better off you’ll be if you encourage hiking, jogging or gym meetups instead of your normal go-to unhealthy options.
Trying new sports, hobbies and routines is the key to avoiding getting stuck in a boring life cycle. Is there a sport you’ve always been curious to play or an exercise style you’re intimidated by? Now is as good a time as any to jump in.
With the new year just beginning, it’s a great excuse to try tennis with your spouse or pick up running if you’ve never taken to it. The only person holding you back is you. No better way to dive in than alongside your friends.
I am living proof of this experience. This past December, I went golfing for the first time with my father and his friend and made a friend come along. Before you know it, she and I are starting a young women’s golf league to help other women get started and now, we each have our own pair of clubs and meet every week to get better.
We never would’ve known we cared for the sport had we not tried it. It’s easier to try things that seem intimidating with friends who you can laugh it off with when you swing and miss the ball.
We all have friends of different sizes, shapes and fitness levels — don’t discriminate! Invite all types of friends to all types of fitness functions. This is how we become more inclusive in the fitness world, and this is how we can encourage our friends to be healthy in 2022.
Don’t be afraid to ask your “not-so-fit” friend to go hiking with you instead of just getting coffee. We all need to be encouraging one another to get moving. You can choose to do something as easy-going as a walk around the lake and a green juice after, to a yoga class and then to eat salads, or even a tough workout class together!
Fitness and friendship are what you make it — it can be weekly, monthly or a once-in-a-blue-moon ordeal. You never know what you might introduce to someone and how it will change their fitness routine for the better.
Sometimes we need a good friend to remind us why it’s important to stay fit. If you have a friend in mind whom you wish would take their health and fitness more seriously, I suggest starting slowly and encouraging them to add more health-conscious decisions. Consider even having a gentle discussion about your concern and desire for them to take better care of their body.
If you receive negativity or pushback, respect that and let them start their journey when they’re ready. If they are willing, just help them with ideas to get them moving or switch out bad habits for better ones. If discussing it isn’t an option you feel comfortable with, tell them you are the one starting a new health and fitness journey and invite them to come along. Pull the focus mostly on yourself to see if that helps.
After all, everything is better with a friend by your side. Start off easy, and suggest something simple such as a pickup game at the gym a couple of times a week after work or doing a yoga class in the mornings together and go from there.
Friendship and fitness have a lot in common. Both have progression you can see and track, and they are equally necessary to have a good quality of life. So here is to combining the two and encouraging our friends to be healthy. It’s not difficult to harness our friendships in a healthy way instead of always surrounding them with booze, food and indulgences, but it makes a world of a difference in the long run.
About the Author
Katerina Cotroneo is a professional photographer turned lifestyle writer. Using her marketing background and her talent behind the camera, Katerina tells unique stories through her lens and captures diverse perspectives.