Fitness, My Story

My Story: Benefits of Working Out With Friends

By Jahnelle Bray
Population Health Coordinator

One of my old coworkers made a commitment to get up early every morning to go spinning. She always had so much energy during her day I thought I’ve got to try this! When a spinning studio opened across the street, I got a group of friends together and that’s what we did. That first class was tough and I had really mixed emotions when it was over. I was sweaty and sore, but also really energized. A little while later I introduced another friend to spinning and she LOVED it. She also suggested we go to a class every week. This was great for me because it has helped me build consistency with my workouts.

If you struggle with staying in shape or sticking with exercise, finding an exercise buddy is really helpful. When you’re by yourself, it’s easy to talk yourself out of exercising or just do the bare minimum. When you make plans with someone else, you’ve made a commitment to be there and do your best. You don’t want to feel like you’re letting them down.

Your exercise buddy can push you to keep going when your muscles start to hurt. If I start to feel like I’m ready to give up, I’ll look over and see how my friends are doing. Seeing them going for it when I’m flagging really motivates me to stick with it. Thinking about the class as a group effort also helps. Everyone is there for the same reason and we’re all going to get through this together. I don’t want to be the only person not doing anything, so I tell myself if they can do it, so can I!

It was great finding someone who loved spinning as much as I do and wanted to go regularly. We have a routine now where we text each other every week to decide what day we’ll go. It’s been about a month since we started doing this, and I’m much less sore than I was after that first time! I look forward to class. It’s a chance for me to disconnect and recharge my body and mind. If I miss a week, I don’t feel my best. Working out is a great accomplishment. If you don’t finish anything else in your day, at least you’ve done that.

Fitness, Guest Post, My Story

My Daily Exercise

By Monica

I usually take my lunch away from the office.  It’s not just to get away from my desk for a little bit, it’s a chance to do some exercise while I’m at work.  I used to have a gym membership but it just didn’t work for me.  Getting to the gym, needing to change clothes and getting back to work in such a short period of time was stressful!  Now, instead of going to the gym I go for a walk at lunch. 

When the weather is nice, I walk up to City Hall.  On days when it’s cold or rainy I still go for my walk but instead of going out, I walk around the first floor of the hospital.  It’s great because no one needs to know I’m exercising and while the pace may be slower, at least I’m still moving and burning calories.  A friend gave me a pedometer recently and I’ve been wearing it for a week or two now.  Seeing how many steps I take while at work and how many calories I burn in just half a day is amazing.  Wearing the pedometer has motivated me to walk even more.  

At home, I sometimes go to the park (it’s a great option if you have kids and time to go for a walk after dinner) but more often I spend time gardening.  I grow flowers as well as vegetables like green peppers, cucumbers and squash— things that need to be watered every day.  Gardening is also very relaxing, and even if you have a small yard or live in an apartment you can still grow some fresh vegetables for yourself.     

Here are some other suggestions for getting exercise.  If you take the train or a bus to work, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.  We’re lucky to have a T stop right outside Mass General, but maybe you can try getting off atPark Street.  If you’re going shopping, find a parking spot farther away from the store (and wear comfortable shoes, not high heels).  Take the stairs if you can.  I rarely take the elevator if I’m going down stairs, and make a point of walking up the stairs to my office at least once a day—and my office is on the seventh floor. 

The most important thing is exercise can be anywhere.  It doesn’t have to be just outside or at the gym.