According to research by Michigan State University, exercising with a ‘virtual partner’ can double the length of your fitness session.
In a study published online in the journal Annals Of Behavioural Medicine, the researchers noted that women taking part in cycling exercises exercised twice as long when working with a virtual partner
The authors suggest these results can be used to help people meet physical activity recommendations.
The researchers split 58 volunteers into three groups. The first group exercised on their own alongside a virtual person, the second group exercised alongside a virtual person but also worked as a team and the third group cycled alone.
Scroll down to find out ways to 'think yourself fit'
At the start, the women in groups one and two were assigned a 'virtually present partner' for the ride and told their partner would be riding at the same time they were, on a similar bike in another lab.
The women 'met their partners via a pre-recorded video-chat and were told their partner's performance was moderately better than their own.
Overall, exercising with a virtually present partner improved performance on the cycling task, and the women cycled longer when working alongside a more capable partner than when exercising alone.
"Being able to more than double one's performance is a substantial gain for those trying to increase their physical activity," study author, Brandon Irwin said in a statement.
"These results are encouraging and suggest the gains we observed over six hour-long sessions could be sustained on a longer-term program of exercise."
10 Inspiring Ways To Think Yourself Fit
How to 'think yourself fit' this spring by fitness trainer and coach <a href="http://www.timweeks.co.uk/" target="_hplink"><strong>Tim Weeks</strong></a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/tim_weeks" target="_hplink"><strong>Follow Tim on Twitter</strong></a>
If there is no passion in what you do, even the greatest motivation power wont get you over the first hurdle. Loving what you do makes the whole 'fitness experience' a lot of fun. Think of it like your job: hate your job and the week drags by. Love your job and nothing is ever a problem and motivation is constantly high.
Give Yourself Plenty Of Options
Due to your natural peaks and troughs of ones mood (especially for women due to menstrual cycle), you need to have 4 or 5 different activities to choose from depending on your mood. If you really can't be bothered, having an easy option like a walk will mean you don't need superhero powers to motivate yourself to get off the sofa. Try as many different activities as you can until you find a few that 'click'.
Set Yourself A Challenge
However cliché this sounds, it works. This doesn't necessarily mean signing up to the London marathon or climbing Everest. It might be trying to complete a lap of the park jogging without walking.
Invest In A Decent Trainer
Anyone can write a programme. The real talented trainers out there have something very special about them. Look at Jose Mourhino. Love him or hate him. He has an amazing ability to motivate people and unlock peoples potential to allow them to reach new heights. Having that 'motivator' at your side should be able to unlock that 'belief' within you that everyone has. Look for someone who is interested in your long term development. They can actually help you put all of these 10 items in this list into place. Not just getting ready for the beach in 4 weeks time.
Build A Fortress Around You
'Stuff' happens in life that you have to deal with as you go along (good or bad). Build a support network of good people around you for when bad times arrive. It therefore means you don't always have to rely on will power. Having good people around you can actually kick start your motivation for you without you even realising.
Share Your Achievements
If you get feedback from another person, their enthusiasm can help you feel valued. If you feel good about yourself, you naturally enter a self generating positive motivation cycle.
Have An Incentive
This may sound ridiculous but it can work. Put a chart on your fridge for 10 sessions. When you have completed all 10, treat yourself. Buy an item like a handbag, a pair of shoes or a book. The physical item is a nice reminder to yourself of how amazing you are and what you have achieved.
Have A Fitness Buddy
Sometimes having a friend giving you a kick up the bum is really helpful. You can actually motivate each other. Especially useful if one can't be bothered.
Don't Go Over The Top
If you go over the top and set yourself totally unrealistic goals (eg I am going to exercise everyday) the low you feel is VERY low. You then need superhuman motivational powers to get back on track. Don't put yourself in the position in the first place.
Take Time Off
If you exercise regularly, at some point you will hit a motivational lull. Therefore, when you go on holiday, enjoy yourself. Forget exercise. It will recharge your brain so you get back that hunger.