Fitness Buddies


This week, someone asked for suggestions on keeping motivated to do fitness activities. There plenty of good suggestions about scheduling workouts into your day so they become a priority, finding activities that work for you, setting goals such as competing in a race, etc.

My best hint is to have fitness buddies. Over the years, I have gravitated to activities I can do with friends. As an introvert who is highly susceptible to peer pressure, it’s perfect.

I can get some social time but don’t actually have to be too social; mostly we are doing our own thing, and there is a time limit. Since most of my fitness buddies are extroverts, they are really good at setting up times to meet; I will happily join them whenever possible.

The social aspect is really good for mental health too. I have friends associated with each activity. In most cases, we met at ballet, or a swim club, or at the barn, but many of those friendships go well beyond that specific sport. One example is my ballet buddy who morphed into a walkng buddy, and now we are simply friends (who still do classes and walk and swim together). I don’t have a lot of friends from work, and my family is small, so I really value these social connections.

My newest fitness buddy is also one of my oldest. I took up adult ballet when my daughter was an enthusiastic young dancer. I learned to ride a horse because it was warmer than sitting in an unheated arena during her lessons. We took lessons together until she was in her teens and I bought Fancy for her.

We have shared Fancy for seven years now, which has meant only one of us could ride at a time. Priority went to my daughter, and I got out of the habit of going more than once a week. That got even worse when the pandemic hit and my weekly lessons ended. But now she is riding another horse for a friend, so I have taken to joining her for morning rides. I am really enjoying the time with her. Secretly, I hope she buys Mickey so we can keep riding together.

My daughter in an outdoor arena under a bright blue sky, riding Mickey, a brown horse, with the shadow from my horse and me in the foreground.

Diane Harper lives in Ottawa.

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