Men Who Exercise with Female Partners Push Themselves Harder to Impress

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.’