Why You Should Exercise Alone At Least Some Of The Time
Millions of women across America like to grab their friends on a Sunday afternoon and go for a power walk. In big cities, hiking is the new brunch, and there are trails as trendy as certain cafes. And gyms certainly make it appealing to bring a friend to your cycling class because you get a discount for passing the word along. But is all this social exercise really a good thing? When you’re around friends, different parts of your brain light up; when you’re sweating and grunting around strangers, even more parts of your brain are activated. But maybe we don’t want those parts of our brains at work when we’re just trying to burn some calories (or some steam). Here is why you should exercise by yourself, at least some of the time.
You can make your faces
There is something cathartic about making totally hideous, animalistic faces when you’re exercising. In fact, some may argue that if you’re not making wild faces, then you’re not doing it right.
Making sounds like grunting, yelling, and even swearing is another part of the catharsis of exercise. But you’re probably too self-conscious to make them when you’re in a group aerobics class.
You can wear hideous clothes
You feel totally comfortable wearing your college track pants that have holes in them and your Spice Girls t-shirt. You won’t invest money in attractive workout clothes.
You can actually connect with nature
If you like to exercise outdoors, then you should get the most out of being in close contact with the wild. If you bring a friend, you’ll just be distracted by the chit chat—which is a shame, because nature has a lot to offer.
You can go as slow as you need
You won’t feel pressured to move as fast as the people around you. Pushing yourself to keep up with your workout mates could just cause you to hurt yourself, or get burnt out early.
Or as fast as you want
If you can move especially fast, then you should be able to do so. If you go for runs or bike rides with a friend, you may end up slowing down, so they don’t feel bad.
You can do some thinking
For many busy individuals, exercise time is the only time they have to reflect on their day, and even have some creative thoughts. You deprive yourself of that time by exercising with a friend.
There won’t be body talk
When women get together to exercise, body image is a popular topic of conversation. But this isn’t the time to talk about love handles and jiggling bellies—this should be a time to love your body!
You can exercise based on your energy, not your schedule
Ideally, if your lifestyle allows it, you can exercise when you feel a burst of energy and exercise would feel good to your body. But if you schedule exercise with other people, you don’t get to exercise like that.
You can listen to a book on tape
Nobody has time to read anymore! But you could have time to listen to a book on tape if you left your friend behind.
Or a podcast
If you want to keep up with the news, or even learn a new skill, you can listen to a podcast about the particular topic you’re interested in while you exercise. That way, you can improve on yourself in more ways than one.
You won’t depend on a workout buddy
If you always work out with friends, then you may become dependent on workout buddies to feel motivated. You should learn to motivate yourself.
You can relax at the gym
You can actually take the time to enjoy your gym’s amenities, like the sauna, steam room, and televisions that have cable (the thing you’ve stopped paying for at home). If you exercise with a friend, you won’t be able to do that.
Girl time can be for just catching up
You say you’ll catch up with your friend when you jog together, but you can’t have a real conversation that one. Exercise alone, and put aside real time to focus on your friend.
It gives you an excuse to be alone
Everybody wants your time. Between your partner, your friends, your coworkers, your mom, and maybe your children, you can’t get a moment alone. But there is one thing people respect; the need to exercise.
You won’t spend money after
Admit it; when you meet your girlfriends to exercise, you end up going shopping after or grabbing lunch at that expensive café. You tell yourselves you deserve it—you’re bad influences on each other.
You can do weird exercises
You can do exercises you make up! You don’t feel confined to the tried and true ones. You are free to get creative, and won’t feel the need to explain your exercise to somebody else.
You can watch TV
You probably feel guilty watching much TV when you have so much else to do. But when you’re on the treadmill, there’s nothing else you could really be doing so go ahead—watch the Food Network.
When you work out with somebody else, you get distracted, and you don’t focus on your form. This can lead to injury, or to not getting much out of the exercise.
You’ll be finished quicker
You know that you dilly-dally when you exercise with somebody else. You go slower because you’re talking, you take lots of breaks, and you are slow to get started.