The closure of gyms has made ‘getting fit’ much more challenging. If you were a frequent gym-goer prior to the pandemic, then exercising in your living room probably doesn’t feel very inspiring. But here’s the good news: you’re not alone. In fact, according to research, if you are struggling to stay on track at home, you simply need to garner some social support.

According to this study, when you put people in the right kind of social environment where they can interact with each other (even anonymously), there will be some behaviour change.

In fact, even though the study participants knew very little about one another, the results indicate that even minimal exposure to social cues can have strong effects. Simply knowing that your peers are going to yoga class is enough motivation to get you into your workout clothes.

The influence of our social networks can be a powerful motivator to encourage more physical activity, says researchers. What this study reveals is that these same positive behavior signals are also powerful in our online networks.

Scientists and entrepreneurs have long understood the power of social influence — both positive and negative — in real-world situations. For example, negative behavior signals like watching a peer smoke or drink increases the likelihood that observers will follow suit. Or if a high schooler’s peers talk about how hard they studied for a test — a positive signal — he/she is more likely to hit the books too.

New experiments to explore why social networks are so effective for increasing participation are currently underway. Researchers are testing whether people are more motivated by competition or by friendly social support. The answer has implications for the entire field of organizations using social tools to help people lose weight, stop smoking, and live healthier lives.

Other ways to stay on track at home:

1) Invest in equipment that you will use: light to medium dumbbells, a mat, resistance bands and a cardio machine are a good start.

2) Get creative. If you don’t have fitness equipment use your body weight, soup cans, water bottles, a jump rope, furniture, the stairs etc. This adds the ‘fun’ factor.

3) Embrace the outdoors. There are many activities that can be done outside that are fun and safe.

4) Maintain a support system. Get your family on board with your new healthy lifestyle.

5) Have fun! Listen to podcasts, music and watch TV while you sweat it out.

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