Even modest increases in physical activity can lead to significant improvements in your health. But if you want to maximize the benefits you get from exercise, there’s value in making a group effort.
Researchers from the University of New England involved medical students in a 12-week exercise program. Two groups of students were allowed to choose between completing the program individually or in a group setting. A third group had no exercise program.
At the end of the 12 weeks, those exercising as part of a group saw, on average, a 12 percent boost in mental well-being, a 24 percent increase in self-reported physical fitness, and a 26 percent rise in emotional stability compared to the control group that did not exercise. They also saw a 26 percent reduction in perceived stress levels. On the other hand, those who worked out individually saw an 11 percent boost in mental well-being but no significant change in the other areas.
Group fitness represents a unique opportunity to tap into the significant health benefits of both physical activity and social connection.
Start a local weekly walking group with family and friends. Pick a place to meet, put on your shoes, and get walking. It’s as simple as that.
Start a club
Get together with a group of friends from work for a game of sports. It might be an informal game at lunchtime or an organized competition after work. Either way, it’s a chance to get active and build friendships.
Get down to your local park
Grab a ball, and head down to the nearest park with your family. It seems simple, but chasing the kids around is a great way to be active while building connections with those you love.