Exercising alone this Valentine's Day? Why not find a virtual workout buddy

10 February 2021

With Valentine’s Day approaching this weekend, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is sending out a love note that being single and without a workout buddy shouldn’t be a reason to not meet your physical activity goals. In fact, with growing tech apps and platforms, why not try connecting your exercise workouts with your digital life.

“As we continue to discover the ongoing benefits exercise and keeping active has on our physical and mental health, one of many ways to motivate yourself to keep up your physical activity levels is through working out with someone else,” says Carly Ryan, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and ESSA Spokesperson.

“This can come down to the added social elements exercising with someone else provides such as cooperation, coordination, and you can push each other if that motivates you. Plus, scheduling times to meet for a workout will help keep you accountable and you can both encourage each other to keep going.”

While this is great news for couples, it doesn’t need to be a disadvantage for those who might be single with technology offering the ability to exercise with a partner or a group of others (friends or strangers) somewhere else in the world.

Research shows us that simulated partners can boost workout effort and improve motivation and performance, especially when the online buddy is a more advanced exerciser. Researchers have also found that working out in a group, whether online or in-person, lowers stress by 26% and significantly improves quality of life.

If connecting with strangers or a software-generated exercise buddy isn’t for you, you can still team up with a friend or family member on FaceTime or Zoom while you are on a stationary bike or treadmill and stay connected while keeping active this way.

“Although this technology isn’t new, COVID-19 forced all of us to become more innovative with our workouts with gyms closing and the stay-at-home restrictions last year. This led to more technology-based exercise gear becoming more accessible and cost-effective,” adds Carly.

“Whether it’s exercise video games, wearable technology, mobile apps, or digital platforms used to work out on, there was plenty of ways to maintain our exercise regimes as well as stay socially connected.”

The other great news is, even if you’re unable to work out virtually with someone else at the same time as you, there’s a wide range of apps which allows you to share your workout results, compare notes and set future challenges with an online community.

A reminder that if you do decide to start a new exercise program and need advice on how to do this safely for you and any health conditions you may have, get in touch with an ESSA accredited exercise professional. You can find one near you via ESSA’s online directory.

All media enquiries can be directed to media@essa.org.au.