Men who exercise with a female training partner not only speed up their running pace, they also travel a greater distance than normal, researchers have found. On average, they run a mile-an-hour faster and carry on for far longer when accompanied by a woman. For the study, male volunteers were paired with a female stranger for running training.
The researchers noted that men, regardless of their relationship status, indulged in a ‘sexual display strategy’ while exercising with a woman. Single men, they found, pushed themselves hardest. ‘When people are aware that potential mates are observing their performances, they may alter their behavior consciously or unconsciously in order to make themselves appear more desirable to these individuals,’ said psychologist Dr. Michael Baker, of the East Carolina University in the US.
The scientists found that men paired with a woman ran at an average of 5.85mph, whereas those with a same-sex partner went at 4.86mph. ‘Individuals who exercised with an opposite-sex partner travelled on average 2.46 miles while those with same-sex partners went 1.87 miles,’ said Dr. Baker.
Even men in a stable relationship put on a show to impress their female partner. Dr. Baker said: ‘Given that running increases heart rate, it is reasonable to suppose that exercising with a potential mate could result in an increased frequency of mating-related thoughts and self-presentational behavior.’