Things you learn from working out with others

I really enjoyed Tracy’s post about solitude and working out alone. It offered a very different perspective to my own approach to physical activity. There’s so much we agree about and yet in some areas, we’re ‘chalk and cheese’ as my mother might say. I’m enjoying exploring our differences in light of our shared starting points.

In contrast to Tracy, almost all the physical activities I do involve communities and teams. Aikido, rowing, and Crossfit are all group efforts. I suppose I could ride my bike alone but I don’t. It’s more fun with others. Crossfit style workouts (this morning was 60 sec box jump, 45 sec rest, repeat x 4, followed by 10 min of ‘on the minute every minute’ 7 push press, 7 pull ups) I can’t imagine doing by myself. I’d give up and quit half way through, I think.

For me working out meets social needs. I like meeting people with similar goals and values. Healthy living abounds in running, cycling, and martial arts communities. I like that and I find support for my goals and lifestyle choices in these communities. I also spend so much time doing various physical activities that I often find myself getting friends to join in. That’s especially true with road cycling and Aikido. I’m passionate about both and I want to spread the joy.

I’ve also learned a lot about physical activity from other people and it’s that value I thought I’d try to articulate here. I’ve written about some of the training advantages of running and riding with others here.

An aside: I’m not writing with the goal of persuading anyone that my way is the right way. Mostly I’m trying to articulate for myself what I get out of the company of other athletes because lots about Tracy’s alone time sounds attractive too. I’m a professional philosopher and spend a fair bit of time offering arguments for my conclusions and trying to show that I’m right. That’s not what I’m up to here at all. I’m offering reasons in a much more exploratory fashion, trying to understand what works for me and showing those reasons to others to see if they fit.

Here goes.  What I’ve learned from working out with others:

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