The Power of TWO09 June, 2013 0 comments
The power of two – why cycling with a buddy will get you further
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an experienced cyclist, there’s a lot to gain from exercising with a partner. Do you feel you could do better in your trainings? Or perhaps you suffer from a lack of motivation? Does your routine sometimes feel boring?
Having a cycling buddy is not only the best cure for these problems, it is also a way to get so much more from exercising than you thought was possible! Read on to discover why two people cycling together can easily achieve what is difficult for one.
- Motivation to start with a training plan
Beginning a new training routine can be a big (and sometimes scary!) decision. That’s why it is fantastic to have somebody beside you to support your effort and keep you accountable every step of the way. If you’re a beginner, a cycling buddy can make you get accustomed to your new training routine, providing motivation, support and friendly advice. Actually, researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia who studied a variety of women, determined that the lack of an exercise partner was among the top obstacles keeping them from exercising. Whether you’re a man or a woman, a cycling buddy will be the motivation that gets you out and over that beginners’ scare in no time!
- Staying accountable
When you know that there’s someone waiting for you at the street corner, you’ll be less inclined to find excuses to skip a workout and stay at home. Even if the weather isn’t perfect, being accountable to a training partner will give you the nudge to show up and give your best. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claim that training with friends can be beneficial for keeping up with fitness goals, because seeing progress in others you have made a commitment to train with, provides mutual reinforcement to keep working towards your goals. By motivating you to show up and step up, a cycling buddy can thus improve your performance!
- Staying strong throughout your workout
Cycling with a buddy can make you more motivated to power through your workout and keep going strong. The mere fact that there is another person riding together with you can give a boost to your efforts. This is something that researchers at Michigan State University’s department of Kinesiology looked at in a study. Their subjects who were paired with virtual training partners, kept going on their bikes twice as long as those that were riding alone. What is more, it turned out that cooperation is a better motivator than competition - meaning that subjects who exercised as part of a team with their partner ended up training longer. Another impressive find of the study was that subjects exercising with a partner had no decline in motivation during the study period that comprised six training sessions, while those riding alone showed a decline in intent to exercise. Exercising outside with a real buddy obviously has additional benefits, helping you to power through rough bits of the training, and ride longer or with more intensity, as switching positions will help you conserve energy when you need it. Irish cyclist Colin Lynch has noticed all these benefits in his trainings, claiming that there has been a marked rise in his efforts and training adaptations during times he spent riding with someone else - “I pushed myself harder and rode further than usual”. Now that’s an improvement! Having a cycling buddy is a truly great way to unleash your potential.
- Time goes flying by
When exercising together with a cycling buddy, you will probably spend less time looking at your watch and more time interacting. The distraction of interaction will keep your mind off muscular fatigue and make miles go by faster. This way, increasing mileage or intensity becomes easier. It is just more fun when you’ve got someone to share your exercise time with! Training with a partner can hold off boredom and tiredness, thus making your cycling routine easier to keep up with.
- Building a sense of camaraderie
There is something about sharing the challenges and accomplishments of exercise that creates a sense of connectedness. Being in it together can increase your confidence in overcoming any challenges, and ultimately have a positive effect on performance. Researchers from Oxford’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology have studied the advantages of training together as a team and claim that this can have actual physiological benefits. The results of their research demonstrate that “being in it together” can produce a higher level of endorphin levels in the brain– these hormones that bring about a sense of well-being also raised the pain threshold of the subjects training in teams to twice as high as of those who did an identical workout alone. This is likely a result of shared goals and group bonding, the authors of the study suggested. Therefore, cycling with a buddy can make your workouts more pleasant and less painful – even making them nicely addictive - which has a positive influence on motivation and performance.
- Staying safe
When you have a cycling partner, there are two pairs of eyes and ears that are attentive to the surroundings, making sure that any dangerous situation is noticed more quickly. In addition, when cycling on streets or country roads, two cyclists can be noticed more easily than one. This means that you can feel a bit more relaxed and concentrated on your training than you would be able to do alone. Moreover, if something unexpected were to happen, it is good to have someone present to help and resolve the situation.
If you still haven’t tried finding a cycling buddy for your workouts, this is the moment to do it! By increasing motivation, by making your exercise routine more fun and pleasant, and by improving your performance, training with a buddy can make you achieve more than you think is possible. Go for it and see for yourself!