Exercising with a group makes people feel physically and mentally better than working out alone, a new study suggests. Researchers found working out in a group lowers stress by 26 percent and significantly improves quality of life.
“The communal benefits of coming together with others, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone," said lead researcher Dr Dayna Yorks, of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.
For the study, researchers recruited 69 medical students - a group known for high levels of stress and poor work-life balance - and allowed them to self-select a twelve-week exercise program, either within a group setting or as individuals.
Those exercising in a group showed significant improvements in all three quality of life measures: boosting mental well-being by 12 per cent, self-reported physical fitness by 24 per cent and emotional stability by 26 per cent. They also reported a 26 per cent reduction in perceived stress levels.
There are other, non-physiological benefits of group exercise. “Research suggests that if people are meeting up with friends to exercise, they are less likely to pull out,” says Dr Joe Costello, of the University of Portsmouth. Taking part in exercise classes also introduces variety to your workout, which can be hard to do when exercising alone.
So, no matter what your chosen exercise method, it’s far better with friends!