Everybody needs a training buddy according to new real-world research by Mentholatum — the muscle and joint care experts behind Deep Freeze and Deep Heat products.
But that fabulous fitness friend could be someone to work out with or a go-to product which eases aches that can disrupt your training schedule or make exercise hard work.
There’s no doubt that partnering up improves performance. Sports scientists even have a name for this fitness phenomenon — it’s called the Kohler Effect, and it kicks in when a team player lifts their performance way beyond any previous personal best because they are determined not to let their side down.
Personal trainer Chris Ruxton who swears by Deep Freeze and Deep Heat as his go-to cooling and thermotherapy topical solutions our bodies need to help keep us active, says: “Buddying up and tapping into your own fitness family is the key to achieving your goals, whether that’s a charity walk, a marathon, or something as simple as an activity holiday or keeping up with children or grandchildren.
“Sharing your exercise experience, in a class, as a team player, or as part of a real-life local or virtual community is always going to give you an edge — whether that’s motivation, routine, determination, competitiveness, performance, or all of the above.”
Aching muscles can also be a huge barrier to better fitness. Physiotherapist and an expert advisor to Deep Freeze and Deep Heat, Sammy Margo says, “Dealing with any joint and muscle health twinges, and preventing this in the first place, is essential for any exercise plan or training schedule to succeed.
In the immediate aftermath of an injury cooling therapies for the first 72 hours, like Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel, and rest, are the most effective way to soothe minor aches and discomfort.
Sammy Margo advises, “After about 72 hours, switching to a warming therapy, such a topical application of Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on Lotion or an adhesive patch will help with muscle recovery and rehabilitation.
The key to any muscular or joint health challenge is to get on top of it as quickly as possible, and then to keep muscles as mobile as possible.
Returning to exercise is important for muscle rehabilitation, but if you don’t deal with muscle and joint health challenges effectively, and protect your muscles and joints going forwards, training can easily trigger more issues.
“Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel is a scientifically proven cooling which offers fast-acting, soothing relief from minor aches in muscles and joints it can be used both before and after exercise.
I always carry Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel because it’s so easy to apply and the rollerball action helps you target muscular and joint trouble spots and ensures cooling relief which really hits the ‘mark’.”
The new research by the go-to cooling topical therapy for minor muscle and joint aches, Deep Freeze, provides some key insights into the motivations, strategies and successes that keep the nation moving.
The latest snapshot of UK fitness strategies from Deep Freeze reveals:
- 54% of people prefer to work out on their own
- 26% prefer to exercise with a friend
- 21% are happy either way
- 78% of adults think they should be doing more exercise, and 60% don’t know how much the NHS recommends as a minimum to maintain health and fitness.
According to the Deep Freeze research poll, increased motivation is the most common reason for teaming up with a training buddy (50%) and women are significantly more likely to say this is a factor; 54% versus 45% of men. More than a third (34%) arrange to workout out with someone else to ensure they will show up and do it, with men more likely to admit they need this push: 36% compared to 32% of women.
Get in step with the science
The latest science confirms the performance and motivational boost a training buddy can bring:
- A real-world study by researchers at Aberdeen University found that people exercise more often when they buddy up, and that a partner who provides emotional support has more impact than one who offers practical tips.
- Scientists at Michigan State University showed that working out with someone improved performance and doubled the time volunteers kept exercising.
- Exercising with a partner who is in better shape increases workout times and intensity by as much as 200%. Other research showed that exercising with a friend improves energy and calmness and volunteers reported feeling less tired than when they exercised on their own.
But the new Deep Freeze research reveals that many exercisers are out of step with the science and are missing out on this important motivational strategy.
Only 47% of those surveyed recognised the benefits of a training buddy and just over half (53%) believed their workout was actually less effective with a friend. Similarly, only 46% thought they exercised more often when they had a regular training buddy but 54% were blind to the benefits.
Room for improvement
We need the motivation. The new Deep Freeze research shows that three-quarters (78%) of those surveyed know they should exercise more, with women most likely to acknowledge they need to increase their activity levels: 81% compared to 73% of men.
Motivation is a huge challenge, with almost nine in ten (88%) confirming it’s an issue. A third (35%) say they ‘often’ struggle to push themselves to exercise and a similar number (32%) report it’s ‘sometimes’ a barrier.
One in three (34%) has sustained an exercise-related injury, with men significantly more likely to have had problems; 39% compared to 30% of women. The most common injuries involve an ankle (29%), knee (27%) or legs (24%).
“And it’s easy to see why,” says physiotherapist Sammy Margo. “The new data shows that huge numbers of people put themselves at risk of injury by failing to warm up before they exercise and by failing to cool down properly afterwards.
In the Deep Freeze research poll only a third (34%) warm up before exercise and even fewer, just 29%, cool down after a workout.
“This lack of care for muscle health is a recipe for injuries. Warming up and cooling down properly reduces the risk of injury as well as DOMS — delayed onset muscle soreness which is also associated with challenging workouts and pushing yourself to your limits.
We know the London Marathon can be a big motivator, but if you’re new to running it’s important to address any muscular or joint health aches and stiffness and take the time to warm up and cool down properly.
The right warm-up increases blood flow and helps to loosen any tightness and adhesions as a result of past injuries and enhance elasticity and mobility.”
Readiness and recovery
For a perfect preparation and post-exercise routine, advisors to Deep Freeze, Sammy Margo and Chris Ruxton share their tips:
- For an all-purpose warm-up when there is no inflammation, use Deep Heat Muscle Massage Roll-on to massage and lengthen the calf and thigh muscles, as well as targeting the sites where there is muscle adhesion or stiffness.
- If you have any muscular or joint ‘trouble spots,’ apply Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel to the area well ahead of any exercise or training sessions to provide prolonged soothing relief while you work out.
Warm up for a total of 10 minutes, using simple aerobic movements which explore a range of movements:
- March on the spot, then backwards and forwards, swinging your arms as you go.
- Put one foot forward, heel first, and with the other leg slightly bent punch forward with both hands as you alternate this leg movement.
- With your back straight and abs tight, do 30 knee lifts with your thigh at a right angle to your hip.
- Roll your shoulders in each direction 10 times.
- With your feet, a shoulder-width apart and hands outstretched bend at the knee to lower yourself no more than 10cm, 10 times for each leg.
After your workout Sammy Margo and Chris Ruxton recommend a series of leisurely stretches to rid muscle tissue of lactic acid, lower the heart rate and adrenaline levels, and reduce the risk of DOMS:
- Hip Stretch: Put one foot forward, ease your weight into your straightened back leg and hold for 15 to 20 seconds to feel a stretch across your hip. Repeat with the other leg.
- Quads Stretch: Keeping your knees together and trying not to lean to one side, hold the top of your left foot and gently pull the heel towards your bottom. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- Hamstring Stretch: Put one foot forward, heel first and toes pointing upwards, and bend the other knee with your hands on your hips. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
- Calf Stretch: With both feet pointing forwards, step forward and bend your front leg while pushing down with your rear, straightened leg. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.
- Finish off by using Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel to help cool tired muscles in the thighs, calves, and ankles and to target any niggles or trouble spots.
Prepare to succeed
Health and fitness journalist Lucy Gornall is one of the many first-timers tackling the London Marathon this year. “It’s something I need to tick off my list,” she says.
But until recently an old knee injury has prevented her from running any more than around 25 kilometres — 17k short of a marathon. “After 25k my knee would start to hurt to severely I couldn’t go on.
“This time I am having lots of physio,’ some acupuncture and putting a lot more thought and work into my recovery. Plus I never run without Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel, it’s a brilliant training buddy for helping to soothe minor aches.
It’s so compact it fits easily into my training vest and it’s really quick and easy to apply which means it provides targeted cooling therapy and soothing relief — and that is helping me extend my training runs..”
Sammy Margo says, “Cryotherapy — as cold therapies like Deep Freeze are well known and well researched — should be everyone’s immediate go-to for soothing relief.
Applying Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel at the first sign of any minor aches provides the confidence and comfort that’s needed and build up the stamina you need for any endurance event.
“Being able to extend your exercise times and exertion levels are also the key to improving fitness generally, and as we get older, or acquire more muscular or joint health challenges, fast and effective cooling relief for minor aches becomes increasingly important.”
Lucy is also a big fan of finding a training buddy and says, “It makes training more enjoyable and makes you accountable to someone else. If you’ve agreed to meet at 7 am no one wants to be the person who lets a friend down.
A lot of my friends like training with me because they know I will push them to do more, and if I train with a guy, I know it’s going to push me to do more, you work that bit harder and can often learn new things.”
Lucy Gornall’s favourite fitness hacks are:
- Invest in a good workout vest so you can carry essentials like Deep Freeze Glide-on Gel, some cash or a card, and lip balm.
- If you don’t fancy music, download a podcast to learn as you run.
- Make sure your AirPods are always fully charged
- If something doesn’t feel right at the start of your run, sort it out straight away.
Sammy Margo suggests:
- Set yourself goals that are achievable but ensure that you do a little bit more every week.
- Schedule time for fitness, whether that’s a sequence of short bursts of activity or a half hour or more carved out of your day.
- Listen to your body, don’t ignore it. As a general rule, cooling therapies are ideal in the first 72 hours after an injury because they can help reduce inflammation, while warmth is helpful for soothing aches and ongoing muscle rehab. But at the end of the day, follow your instincts as there are proven benefits to both cold and heat.
Chill-out with these Deep Freeze workout friends: It’s no wonder Deep Freeze is the UK’s top-selling topical freeze brand. The Deep Freeze range delivers swift, scientifically proven cooling and relief from minor aches in muscles and joints. “As far as I’m concerned, they are a kit-bag essential,” says personal trainer Chris Ruxton.