Exercising in a Group Offers More Benefits Than Solo Workouts

Exercising in a Group Offers More Benefits Than Solo Workouts

Debating whether to go running by yourself or join in that fitness class? Some new findings could help you with your decision.

Researchers from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine have found that exercising in a group offers benefits that solo workouts don’t.

Medical students-69 of them- were recruited and asked to self-select a 12-week exercise program. Participants had the freedom to choose whether or not the activity would be done in a group setting. (A control group didn’t enroll in any program).

Those who participated in group exercise for at least 30 minutes once a week showed significant improvements in three areas. These included mental, physical and emotional qualities of life. All of these improved, at 12.6 percent, 24.8 percent and 26.2 percent respectively.

Related: How Running is Better for Your Brain Than Lifting Weights

What about those individuals who exercised alone or simply in pairs? These guys and gals tended to spend about twice as long doing their exercise, but unfortunately they didn’t reap the same benefits.

Their mental quality of life increased by 11 percent, but everything else remained the same, matching the group that didn’t get any organized exercise at all.

The study, published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, shows the plus-side of gathering together.

“The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone,” said Dayna Yorks, DO, lead researcher on this study.

Sure, we’re not all medical students-or doctors for that matter. Surely the findings should apply to anyone looking to better their life, though. Grab that towel and head to Zumba!

Photo credits: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

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