Socialising with friends is great for our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Unfortunately we live in a culture where social activities usually entail unhealthy foods, excessive alcohol or very little physical activity. Luckily it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re looking to achieve your fitness goals and maintain a healthy social life then read below. Not only will implementing these tips improve your fitness but they will hopefully get your friends moving too.
Gym With Your Friends
This one is quite obvious but exercise is always more fun with a friend. Why not join a gym with your buddy and get on the gains train together? Some gyms (like City Fitness) even give you the option to bring a friend during staffed hours for free. You and a mate could go halves on a gym membership and both reap the benefits. Not only do you get to socialise while you workout, but you will also have someone to spot your reps or critique your form. Research shows that you are more likely to lose weight if you have a buddy doing it with you. If you want to stick to your fitness commitments, it will be much easier if you have a friend on the same journey.
Shopping can be strenuous. Not just for the bank account but for the body too. A trip to the mall can rake in a few thousand steps. Although walking doesn’t seem like much of a workout, research shows that increasing your daily steps to above 10,000 will improve your physical health and mood. Spending too much time sitting down puts you at higher risk of heart disease and more fat around your stomach. Asking your friends to go shopping is a fun activity that will also get your daily steps up. Trying on clothes can sometimes be a workout in itself. If you want exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, grab your friends and head to the mall. It is one of the most fun yet active social outings you can do. Just try your best not to end up buying junk from the food court while you’re there.
Workout In The Morning
If your social circle isn't into fitness, that shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on a good session. Schedule your workout for first thing in the morning and leave the socialising for later. Getting it done early means you can tick it off the to do list and feel great for the rest of the day. Not only is this a practical recommendation but there are numerous benefits to exercising early. One study found that participants are more likely to make better food choices if they commit to a regular exercise regime. This means if you start your day with an early workout, you might be more likely to make healthier food choices when socialising later.
Other research suggests that working out in the morning could lead to more fat burning throughout the day. One study examined whether the time you exercise makes a difference to your overall fat oxidation throughout the day. It found that men who did their workouts before breakfast burned more fat in the following 24 hour period compared to when they exercised at later periods of the day. This means that doing a workout in the morning before your social activities might be more beneficial compared to an evening workout. Although exercise at any point in the day is a good thing, getting it done first thing in the morning might be optimal, not just for your body but for your social life too.
Play A Sport
Joining a sports team is a great way to meet new people. You don’t have to do anything serious if being competitive isn’t in your nature. There are plenty of social teams out there. Obviously playing sports has physical benefits but it can also improve your decision-making ability and boost your self-esteem. As we age, certain parts of our brain shrink and we tend to not be as sharp between the ears as we once were. Playing sports improves our ability to process speed and attention. If you want to find a new hobby that will make you better physically, mentally and socially, consider signing up to a local sports team. You can work on your fitness and meet some like-minded people while you’re at it.
Suggest Active Things For Your Friends To Do
If competitive sports aren’t your thing then you could do something a bit more leisurely. Next time your friends want to plan a social outing, why not suggest bowling or mini golf? These activities are far more exciting than just hanging out at home or going to the movies. Although bowling might not be particularly strenuous for you, it gets you moving and improves your coordination. The same goes for mini golf, darts, pool and rock climbing. Not only are these activities physical, they will help you bond with friends. Now that we are no longer stuck in covid lockdowns, make the most of the leisure activities available. The local businesses will be grateful for it too.
Walk To Your Social Event
As stated above, getting your daily steps up is great for your health. Considering the price of gas these days, it would be better for you and your wallet if you stroll to your next social outing. Obviously sometimes this might not be practical. However if you make the effort to walk as much as you can, you will notice a physical and mental benefit. Regular walks help you maintain a healthy body weight, lower your blood sugar and even reduce stress. One study found that people are more creative when they are walking compared to when they sit down. By walking to your next event, you might even come up with some cooler stories to tell your friends. Next time you make social plans, pick a location within walking distance, ditch the car and pound the pavement instead.
They say that prior planning prevents poor performance. Don’t just sit back and hope your fitness goals achieve themselves. Be proactive. Being fit doesn’t mean you have to avoid social outings and become a hermit. Get creative and find ways to do both. Small changes here and there can make a big difference. Start your day with a resistance workout, suggest an active outing for your friends to do and swap the uber for a relaxing walk. These habits add up in the long run and will make a huge difference to your overall health.