Millions of women across America like to grab their friends on a Sunday afternoon and go for a power walk. In big cities, hiking is the new brunch, and there are trails as trendy as certain cafes. And gyms certainly make it appealing to bring a friend to your cycling class because you get a discount for passing the word along. But is all this social exercise really a good thing? When you’re around friends, different parts of your brain light up; when you’re sweating and grunting around strangers, even more parts of your brain are activated. But maybe we don’t want those parts of our brains at work when we’re just trying to burn some calories (or some steam). Here is why you should exercise by yourself, at least some of the time.

You can make your faces

There is something cathartic about making totally hideous, animalistic faces when you’re exercising. In fact, some may argue that if you’re not making wild faces, then you’re not doing it right.

You can make your noises

Making sounds like grunting, yelling, and even swearing is another part of the catharsis of exercise. But you’re probably too self-conscious to make them when you’re in a group aerobics class.

You can wear hideous clothes

You feel totally comfortable wearing your college track pants that have holes in them and your Spice Girls t-shirt. You won’t invest money in attractive workout clothes.

You can actually connect with nature

If you like to exercise outdoors, then you should get the most out of being in close contact with the wild. If you bring a friend, you’ll just be distracted by the chit chat—which is a shame, because nature has a lot to offer.

You can go as slow as you need

You won’t feel pressured to move as fast as the people around you. Pushing yourself to keep up with your workout mates could just cause you to hurt yourself, or get burnt out early

Or as fast as you want

If you can move especially fast, then you should be able to do so. If you go for runs or bike rides with a friend, you may end up slowing down, so they don’t feel bad.

You can do some thinking

For many busy individuals, exercise time is the only time they have to reflect on their day, and even have some creative thoughts. You deprive yourself of that time by exercising with a friend.

There won’t be body talk

When women get together to exercise, body image is a popular topic of conversation. But this isn’t the time to talk about love handles and jiggling bellies—this should be a time to love your body!

You can exercise based on your energy, not your schedule

Ideally, if your lifestyle allows it, you can exercise when you feel a burst of energy and exercise would feel good to your body. But if you schedule exercise with other people, you don’t get to exercise like that.

You can listen to a book on tape

Nobody has time to read anymore! But you could have time to listen to a book on tape if you left your friend behind.

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