Get active with a friend and actually stay friends

There are a variety of reasons why you should be active with a partner or group. You don’t have to play a team sport, because other activities such as yoga, dancing, and running can also be done with a partner.

Besides the fact that it’s more enjoyable, there are other benefits that come with getting active with another person. There’s the added motivation that you get from being accountable to someone, as well as the comfort in knowing that help is nearby if needed. Because it’s all fun and games until you get stuck doing the splits and can’t get up. We’ve all been there—except us, of course! ;)

However, chances are that you don’t have an identical twin who runs just as fast or slow as you do and it’s more likely that there will be differences in your skills and abilities.

So how do you handle it when one of you is gasping for breath and the other one isn’t breaking a sweat?

Know where you stand. Get a good sense of each other’s limitations before you do the activity. Understand that being active together doesn’t imply that you are both exerting the same effort. What’s considered a moderate-to-vigorous run for someone may be more of a casual jog for others and that’s okay. Set realistic goals that both parties can achieve.

Have alone time. Dedicate some time to being active on your own so that you can strengthen your skills to better accommodate your partner. This can mean practicing some dance moves that others already mastered, or doing the harder yoga poses that aren’t covered in the group.

Draft an exit strategy. Talk about what to do when the other partner needs or wants to end the activity. Do you both decide to stop, try another activity or does the other one keep going? Go over some common “what if” scenarios and decide what you, as a group, will do to handle them.

The key to all this is communication and patience. When you first partner up with someone, there’s always the dread that you won’t be able to keep up with them. But there’s also the boredom of not being challenged enough. It’s a fine balance when you’re just managing yourself – and a very hard trick to do as a group. It’s important to communicate your challenges, celebrate successes and always remain patient with each other. Or go ahead and clone yourself. That should work too!