Jogging alone could be bad for your brain. Running is stressful, and going it alone could be preventing the production of new brain cells, according to a study from Harvard University [source: MacRae]. The antidote? Find a jogging buddy.
With a jogging partner, running becomes a stimulating, social event instead of a personal trial. When you do it with a friend, a run is a good time to catch up and chat -- albeit with a bit more heavy breathing. It'll also give you a good dose of social pressure to keep up a routine. When solo runners feel like throwing in the towel, all they need to do is hit the snooze button. Social runners, on the other hand, know that skipping a workout means standing up their friend [source: MamasHealth.com]. Just be sure you pick a friend who's roughly at the same skill level as you. You don't want to burn yourself out by keeping up with a three-time Ironman winner. Nor do you want to be held back by an out-of-breath slowpoke.
If your Rolodex is a bit short of running partner candidates, you may also consider a running group. Whichever city, town or village you live in, chances are that there's a running group near you. Even the small Arctic Ocean town of Inuvik, Canada has enough runners to hold an annual half marathon [source: May]. Ranging from serious trainers to fun runners, you should be able to able to find a group that fits your specific running needs. Check with your local community or health center to see what's available.
You may also decide to go with a non-human jogging buddy -- although they may slow you down for the occasional call of nature. Dogs are great running partners, provided you find one with some stamina. Chihuahuas will collapse at anything faster than a brisk walk, but a collie, dalmatian or Alaskan husky will easily be able to keep the pace. Dogs most likely won't show signs of pain, so keep a close eye on whether you're running too hard. And thanks to a year-round fur coat, dogs are more sensitive to hot weather than humans. If it's a sweltering July day, you may want to leave Rover at home.
Turn the page to find out what to do with all those barbells.