Fitter "Partners" Inspire Longer Workouts
Up your fitness ante by exercising with a teammate who’s fitter than you are. Researchers assigned 58 women to one of three groups. In the first, women used a stationary bike alone. Participants in the second group were told they were riding with virtual “partners” who the researchers said were exercising in another lab. Researchers also paired a third group with virtual cyclists, but, unlike with the other groups, instructed participants that the team’s score would be the time the first teammate stopped cycling—even though the trial was manipulated so the virtual women never stopped exercising first. By the end of six sessions, participants paired with a fitter teammate exercised more than 150 percent longer than those with a partner and about 200 percent longer than those who exercised alone. What’s more, even though participants with virtual pals worked out longer, they felt no more tired than those who had exercised alone for shorter periods of time.
Source: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, October 2012