A Brilliant Distraction

While driving home the other night I saw two women walking together. I should say power walking. I see them often, chatting away as their bodies work off calories and their minds work off worries.

They made me realize, as I scooted past, that working out with a friend is the perfect antidote to all the complaints people have about exercise.

"It's boring."

"It takes forever."

"It hurts."

Boring? Those women were having a wonderful time together. Talking, laughing, listening--they were anything but bored.

Too long? You know what they say about time flying and fun. Although it's true that exercising alone can slow time to a crawl--why can't that maddening minute hand get a move on!--but when you're with a friend, it whips by without your noticing.

It's a distraction of the best kind, taking your mind off the minutes while your body gets its workout.

Painful? This is another case where distraction pays off. My friend trained for a marathon a few years ago, often running alone. The hills killed. They shot pains into her body that would have made Hercules wince. When I went with her, however, the pain wasn't as bad. The hills were still a sworn enemy, but they didn't stab with the same intensity.

Because she had other things to focus on, the pain was pushed to the back of her mind.

These benefits alone make an easy sell, but they don't touch the greatest benefit. When you ask a friend to join you, you automatically create a support system. When you're not feeling up to it, he or she is there to drive you on. When your friend is putting it off, you can step in and fight for the cause.

If you're having trouble getting and staying motivated to keep in shape, make it a group affair.



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