The mean age of the sample was The item survey consisted of relational background and quality, participant exercise goals and behaviors both individual and during exercise with the partnerand basic demographic information and took approximately 30 min to complete.
Relationship viability is the time spent together both acutely and long-term. Although there are constructs of the social psychology of exercise that attempt to capture feelings of support from others i. If exercise partners are motivational, then characterizing their relationship is important. One outcome of the social penetration perspective is that the more time people spend in a relationship, the more likely individuals are to communicate about a wider breadth of topics and self-disclose more personal information [ 17 ].
Why having a fitness buddy is the best thing ever
To begin, we review interpersonal communication theories and constructs that may be relevant to the formation and maintenance of a successful exercise relationship. Figure 2: Exercise in the relationship scale ERScale. Researchers in social psychology and social cognition have conceived of closeness as the collective aspect of self [ 1819 ]. We illustrate the conceptualization of exercise relationship development by separating relationship quality and relationship utility as viewed in Figure 1.
The amount of exercise in the relationship was assessed Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend a single item scale created for this study hereafter referred to as the Exercise in the Relationship Scale — ERScalewhich displayed seven nested circles depicting exercise represented as a progressively greater proportion of the entire relationship see Figure 2. Participants were recruited and enrolled in the study through the website Experimetrix, which allowed them to obtain course credit while keeping their responses anonymous.
The worldwide population is becoming increasingly inactive and the resultant decreases in health are marked [ 12 ]. Interpersonal communication is conceptualized as frequency of communication, breadth of topics, relevance of the communication to the task, and encouragement. These dimensions were measured with nine different scales. Exercise partner was defined for participants as "a person with whom you exercise or train consistently.
Although these variables are not a perfect representation of all aspects of relationship quality, they are variables that are core to understanding relationship quality. The circles start with no shared space i. Most importantly, we sought to examine the exercise relationships from two perspectives: a Relationship quality, as inferred through communication, relational closeness, relationship viability, and b Relationship utility i.
Relational quality contained three dimensions; communication, closeness, and viability. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of exercise partner relationships by characterizing them on several key features. Relationship length was measured as the total amount of time the exercise partners had known each other. Though exercise partners who initiate their relationship with a goal in mind may value their relationship at the onset that value may decline once goals are achieved [ 25 ].
Self-disclosure is a component of this verbal communication and one that will likely occur during exercise sessions and facilitate the development of exercise relationships. What is the relational background status, meeting context of exercise relationships? Participants responded individually, not with their exercise partner. An exercise relationship, as defined in this study, is a dyadic interpersonal relationship that is rooted, in some degree, in the exercise context, with the key defining trait being regular co-exercise.
The inclusion of and focus on the Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend of the "other" in exercise and physical activity engagement has made the leap from science to practice, as many popular fitness and health magazines are rife with recommendations and offers such as "grab a partner for a better workout," "7 ways to find a workout partner," or "5 reasons why having a workout partner can help you achieve your goals" [ 10 - 12 ].
If you have multiple exercise partners, choose your primary exercise partner the one with whom you exercise the most frequently " for subsequent questions.
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Communication breadth was calculated by summing the topics checked. Figure 1: Variables related to the development of exercise relationships. research has highlighted that similarities between an individual and a partner stem from a mutual influence and an overlap of traits, beliefs, and schemas [ 20 ]. Closeness is conceptualized as how interconnected an individual perceives they are with another person [ 18 ].
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To determine meeting contextwe asked "Did you meet your exercise partner in an exercise context or elsewhere? Indeed, relationships involving persons who most easily see relationships in the context of rewards and costs, who are more prone to leave a relationship that is not immediately beneficial to them, tend to have poorer quality relationships [ 26 ]. Relationship viability comprises total relationship length, exercise relationship length, and how often exercise partners hang out with one another. Due to this perspective on interpersonal closeness, it is worthwhile to measure the self in the collective in a visual representation of the self-overlapping with the other individual in the relationship.
The IOS scale uses two circles, one that represents self and the other that represents the other person. Interpersonal closeness is the degree to which individuals in a relationship share an identity. Relationship quality comprises three components: Interpersonal communication, interpersonal closeness, and viability. Informed written consent was obtained from the study participants.
People are likely to value and seek others who have the ability to facilitate their goals [ 22 ]. We measured relational utility in terms of individual exercise goals and behaviors and exercise goals and behaviors with partner to assess whether individual goals and goals with a partner are related and if they are useful to achieving one's goals. The amount of talk during typical workouts and most-enjoyable workouts were assessed with a single item soliciting the percentage of workout time spent "talking to each other.
Exercise dyadic relationships were characterized by mutual goal facilitation, and participants whose exercise relationships had dissolved or failed reported ificantly lower interpersonal closeness, lower communication breadth, and more performance-based goals than participants who reported an ongoing exercise relationship ps Exercise relationships, Gym relationship, Physical activity, Workout buddy. The success of the relationship is defined in this study by the relationship viability i. Exercise partners are people who exercise with one another and rely on each other in their chosen exercise context e.
After obtaining institutional approval from the Human Research Protection Program, an anonymous web survey hosted by Qualtrics was conducted on undergraduate students enrolled in communication courses at a large Midwestern university. The goal was to obtain at least viable participants based on the size of other Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend survey studies of college students [ 2728 ]. Dyadic exercise has also been found to have stress-management benefits when compared to exercising alone, such as lowered tension and tiredness, as well as increased calmness and energy [ 9 ].
Social influence has been cited as a predictor of exercise participation and has been shown to be associated with reduced attrition from exercise programs [ 6 - 8 ]. At the most basic level, this sharing of information can be understood through the amount of talk that exercise partners engage in during sessions, the breadth of those discussions, the relative talk that is occurring, and the encouragement that is happening, or not happening, during bouts of exercise together.
For the purpose of this study, we conceptualize communication by the amount of talk during sessions, relative talk, breadth of conversation, and partner encouragement, as these are likely the most relevant components of communication present in exercise relationships. Each of these variables is a measure of time in the relationship — either acutely as with hangout time per week or chronically as with duration of the relationship.
A follow-up, open-ended Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend prompted participants to elaborate on what they talked about within the topic areas they selected. The combination of these three components are largely responsible for the current understanding of relationship development and growth over a period of time. How do communication, closeness, and viability relate to one another in exercise relationships? However, the qualities of an ideal or even typical workout partner relationship have not been empirically investigated, and practical recommendations are speculative, at best.
Of critical importance is whether an exercise relationship is sustained or terminated. Relationship development involves processing both the quality and utility of the relationship. Interpersonal information is shared and learned through self-disclosure, a key component of relationship formation. The image was accompanied by the following prompt: "Please choose the picture that best describes the extent to which your relationship with your exercise partner is rooted in exercise.
A sample of undergraduates were administered a survey, of whom met inclusion criteria and reported having or having had an exercise partner. The role of valued others has been emphasized in many of exercise psychology's most ubiquitous theories e. Exercise relationships can be stand-alone relationships e. What is the relational quality communication, closeness, viability of exercise relationships? In this paper we examined the nature of exercise Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend through an online survey.
Value can be derived from either the pleasure inherent in the relationship i. When an individual is in a close relationship, they are likely to act and think as if some or all aspects of the partner are in union with their partner [ 18 ]. Therefore, if an individual is interconnected with a partner, it is likely to affect their cognitions in a way that will alter behavior. Little is known about how these relationships develop and flourish in exercising settings, but through the lens of relationship quality and utility, researchers can better understand their role in prompting or hindering physical activity behaviors.
To assess whether participants or their partners tended to dominate the conversation, the respondent's relative talk contribution to intra-workout conversation was assessed with a single 5-point Likert-style item ranging from 1 mostly you to 5 mostly exercise partner. These factors, along with interpersonal communication and interpersonal closeness, are likely to covary because all are forms of investment in the relationship, which can improve an individual's likelihood of staying in a relationship [ 21 ]. This depth i. Viability was measured as relationship length, exercise relationship length, and hangout frequency.
Participants who did not have an exercise partner or who did not exercise at all were automatically forwarded to the end of the survey to receive their participation credit. There are a of theories examining relationships outside of the exercise context that may be relevant, but have yet to be examined through a kinesiological lens.
For example, in an exercise friendship perhaps holding the other person able to show up, having them try a new task, pushing them to work harder, or helping a partner embrace a more adaptive achievement goal strategy could be factors that provide utility in the relationship. Exercise relationship length was assessed with a single item, "How long have you and your exercise partner been working out together?
View Figure 2. Physical fitness is seen as a key factor when assessing a hypothetical exercise partner's appeal, and similar fitness abilities and goals are what many prioritize [ 2324 ]. This single item, "How long have you known your exercise partner? Accordingly, a review of relationship theory and research is warranted.
View Figure 1. What are the Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend goals and behaviors during exercise with a partner? However, one of the most promising solutions to the issue of exercise adherence and effort is social influence [ 3 - 5 ]. Hangout frequency was Seeking workout partner mutual motivator friend as the of days participants saw each other outside of exercise, assessed with a single item, "How many days do you and your exercise partner see each other outside of exercise? Int J Sports Exerc Med Social influence research in exercise has highlighted the motivation-boosting potential of working out with an exercise partner or group, but to the authors' knowledge there has been no research to date characterizing the typical dyadic exercise relationship, which is an interpersonal relationship that includes regular co-exercise.
Social penetration theory outlines that as a relationship begins to develop and flourish, the members of the relationship begin to communicate more information and transfer more intimate information to the other member of the dyad [ 16 ].