For those pursuing a healthier, more active lifestyle, finding an incentive to stick to a training regime is often crucial. However, according to new research from Better, the answer may be closer to home than you think.
April 10 marks National Siblings Day – where people are encouraged to embrace the bond between offspring. As such, it is worth considering the benefits of recruiting a sibling as a training partner. Overall nearly a third (30%) of Britons who take exercise do so with a partner, with more than half of us (52%) believing that working out with a partner can improve a relationship. Two thirds of respondents felt that exercising is as much of a social activity as a health activity.
Of those who work out with a partner, over half of those surveyed say that it keeps them more motivated (55%) and that it makes exercising more fun 54%, with the figure rising to 78% in the West Midlands. 53% believing that working out with a partner means that they exercise more often and 42% that it ensures they don’t make excuses to avoid exercise, with the figure rising to 6 in 10 amongst those living in the South East.
These findings are borne out by Better leisure centres’ own data, which shows that partner members join and stick to exercise for 10% longer than any other type of leisure centre member.
Throughout sporting history, there have been many stories of siblings both succeeding in sport – often enjoying the benefits of training together, and even playing together at the elite level of their sport. For example, Gary and Phil Neville, who emerged through Manchester United’s famous Class of 92, going on to win multiple honours and represent England at major tournaments, as well as captaining opposing Premier League teams in 2006 after Phil’s transfer to Everton the previous year. Similarly, tennis-playing sisters Venus and Serena Williams spent many years training together, going on to not only win a plethora of major titles in doubles competition, but to oppose each other in multiple grand slam finals in one world sport’s most famous partnerships – and rivalries.
Leon Popplewell, Sports Psychologist said:
“Exercising in a pair or as a group has shown that it is more likely to produce exercise benefits than working out individually. With this in mind the success of siblings in sport is not a surprise.
Growing up together, of similar age, having the same opportunities and sharing the same DNA can maximise the likelihood of sporting success, with many siblings thriving in this environment. There is also the extra dimension of children competing for their parents’ attention or being compared by teachers or coaches; meaning that there is constant rivalry throughout their sporting lives.
Usually equipment is shared and ‘hand me downs’ are used and it can be cheaper and easier for parents to take both children to the same activity than to two separate ones. So this competitive family dynamic, coupled with financial and logistical necessity can see a ‘touch paper’ being lit that may lead to national and international sporting success.”
This competitive nature found in many sibling relationships can often provide an extra incentive. Men are most likely to enjoy the competitive nature of working out in company (28%) and see it as a learning opportunity (25%) whereas women tend to focus on the social benefits most. Working out with a companion is seen as an opportunity to have a laugh by over half (54%) of respondents, with only 5% considering it to have no benefit whatsoever.
Better centres welcome many sibling customers at facilities across the UK, as well as funding a number of GLL Sport Foundation athletes, which provides support for aspiring athletes across the UK – including siblings such as cyclist Georg Mew Jensen and diver Scarlett Mew Jensen. In line with National Siblings Day, Better customers are encouraged to bring a brother or sister for a free session at a local centre, by registering for a guest pass here.