Breaking Hibernation Habits with a Friend (or Two!)

Breaking Hibernation Habits with a Friend (or Two!)

During the cooler months of the year it’s easy to get into ‘hibernation habits’. Comfort food is much more appealing when it’s awful outside and it can be hard to get off the couch when it’s gloomy or raining. It’s easy to fall into the routine of going to work, coming home, rest, and repeat – and that routine can be a little hard to break even as the weather starts to improve.

With the days getting longer and warmer it’s time to shake off the ‘go slows’ and leap into life again.

Why is it so hard to get moving?

While getting cosy understandably has more appeal than hitting the pavement for a run when it’s cold, there is also a scientific basis for our fitness levels taking a dive during the colder months. It has been confirmed there is a correlation between higher vitamin D levels and increased cardiorespiratory fitness (the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to muscles during exercise) that underscores why it’s harder to get moving when we may not have seen the sun for a while.i

Mind you it can be difficult to get motivated during the cooler months even when the sun is shining, so let’s look at ways to get back out there and get some motivation from the power of social connections!

Committed to fun with a friend

Exercising with a friend is a powerful motivator for a lot of reasons. It’s a lot harder to pull the plug and stay on the couch when you are committed to meet a friend for a walk or arranged to hang out with a buddy at the gym.

One of the key elements to forming a habit is making it enjoyable. And one of the easiest ways to make fitness enjoyable is to do it with others. Research backs this up with scientists from the University of Southern California finding that people who worked out with friends enjoyed it more than those who exercised alone.ii

Competition makes you go harder

The benefits of exercise happen when you are pushing yourself. You get faster by running as hard as you can and stronger by working to your maximum, and experiments have shown that working out with someone will help you to push yourself that little bit harder than if you were going solo.iii

The phenomenon, known as ‘social facilitation,’ is when two people running together compete against each other so that each runs at a faster pace than they did running alone.

A win-win scenario

Exercising with others not only strengthens your body but boosts your social connections too. Exercise is known to be a powerful mood booster, making you feel good about yourself and flooding your body with ‘feel good’ hormones like endorphins and serotonin. This is heightened when you are with others, so when you are with a great bunch of people working out or playing a team sport, that kind of connectedness can be the key to an even happier post-workout high.


Think of what activities you like and join a group or team. There is so much out there to choose from whether you are an adrenaline junkie hitting the rock-climbing walls, a speed demon jumping on the bike or even a fearless flyer learning how to train on the trapeze by joining a circus programme.

Team sports are also fun. It’s easy to forget you are even exercising when you are in the thick of a tight game whether it’s on the footy field, basketball court or ice hockey arena, and for sure nothing beats the thrill of winning. And nothing provides better motivation to get into it than your team members shouting encouragement.

So whether you are getting your crew together to work up a sweat or joining a club and making new friends, the key to getting moving again is to make it social!