Social support important in fitness


Over the past semester, I have had several students say to me, “I see your articles in the Collegian all the time!” To those people: Thanks for reading. It’s good to know someone out there cares to read what I have to say.

Hopefully, something from at least one of these columns has inspired you to attain, as well as maintain, a healthier lifestyle. Whether you have tried one of the strength training moves from the “Let’s Get Physical” section, or made an effort to get more sleep, I applaud you.

Even if you’re just thinking about making a positive change, you are on the right track.

As we all enjoy the summer months after this semester, it is important to continue to be mindful of our health and well being. One great way to do this is to find a workout buddy or group. It can be tough at times to align your schedule with another person’s, but if you can make it work, it is quite rewarding.

By having one or more friends who you can trust to push and challenge you and vice versa, you hold each other accountable in your exercise and health routines. It’s often hard to roll out of bed early in the morning to hit the gym or go on a run, but when you know someone is there depending on you, it becomes much more of a priority.

However, at times, the social dependency can have the opposite of the desired effect. Be careful not to motivate each other to cancel plans or give up on your workout routine. To avoid this, make sure you are maintaining a flexible schedule and you are both serious about keeping it.

Communication is essential when making and maintaining your plans. Let your partner know what you are comfortable with and what you would like to improve on. As I have said before, don’t pledge to anything that you know you can’t stick with. It’s best to make small, gradual changes and work toward something larger.

You should make a point to encourage those you work out with and celebrate milestones. A great way to achieve together is to register to run or walk a race or event. There are plenty of 5Ks and 10Ks in the spring, summer and fall, and the money invested in the registration fee can give you a little boost of motivation. Plus, you’ll have a goal that is very specific and time-bound.

This summer, make an effort to find a friend who is similar to you in the types of goals he or she has and plan to keep each other accountable. Summer is a great time to start this routine because there are a multitude of outdoor activities and summer sports leagues to choose from, and most people’s schedules are much more flexible.

Once you’ve had the experience of achieving and maintaining healthy goals with a friend, you’ll see that this mutually beneficial relationship can make exercise more enjoyable and enhance your investment in a healthy lifestyle.

Sarah Hurd is a senior in kinesiology. Please send comments to