Can an Exercise Buddy be too Encouraging?

We have all heard that we would work out more, better, longer if we partner up, right?

A new study from Kansas State University, College of Human Ecology, tells us some things we didn’t know.

Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology, recently found that individuals tend to work out longer when their partner was perceived to be more skilled and was one who kept verbal encouragement to a minimum…Irwin discovered the optimal exercise partner is 40 percent better than the other, motivating the less skilled partner to exercise for a longer period of time and at an increased rate.”  Ok, that makes sense, right?

I don’t know about you, but we would think that if you add encouragement to this mix, that would only increase motivation.  Interestingly, Irwin’s research proved otherwise:  “‘When exercising with someone who is slightly better and who is not verbally encouraging, participants exercised longer than if conditions were the same but that person was verbally encouraging them. We didn’t expect that,'” Irwin said.”

Well, that is interesting.  Any ideas on why that would be so?  Yeah, we didn’t either, but the researchers had at least a guess:  “Irwin said the researchers’ best guess for why this happened is that those who received encouragement from a partner whom they perceived as more skilled may have interpreted the comments as condescending.  ‘If two individuals are exercising together and one is constantly saying ‘you can do this’ to the other, it may be taken as patronizing,’ Irwin said.”  I guess we can see how that could happen.  What’s your experience?

Do you have an exercise buddy?  Do you find that this research corresponds with your feelings?

Please do share with us, either in the comments section below, or on our facebook page.

By the way, “the finding will be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.”

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