Why You Should Get Fit With Friends
Why You Should Get Fit With Friends
I think everyone should do their best to improve their level of fitness. It’s one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of living longer and avoiding many dangerous conditions. And you can control it.
But let’s all be honest here...
Exercise isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be fit.
Part of what makes exercising so difficult is it’s hard to stay motivated, especially if it’s just “you against the world.”
That’s why I believe it’s important to work out with others.
But working out with others won’t just help with motivation...it might also give you more health benefits than just working out alone.
Here’s what new research shows on this phenomena.
A recent study published in the The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association shows if you exercise in groups, it’s much more helpful at keeping your motivation high.
In this recently published study, Dr. Dayna Yorks and her team working at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine found exercising in a group is one of the best ways to derive the maximum benefits of exercise.
To come to this conclusion, her team analyzed how group versus individual exercise affected the health profiles of 69 medical students from the university.
There was a specific reason they chose medical students. On the whole, students, especially medical students subjected to the rigors of intense academic programming, tend to have a lower quality of life. This is true physically and emotionally.
The students were asked if they wanted to do a 3 month exercise program with others, or follow a 3 month exercise program they pursued on their own.
For students choosing a group program, all were asked to do CXWORX exercise training for 30 minutes once during the week. CXWORX training programs are focused on building strength in the core and also utilize functional fitness routines.
Then, they had a third “control” group. Students in the control didn’t follow any kind of exercise routine. Their primary form of exercise would have been whatever they did to get to and from classes (walking, bike riding etc.)
All the students were asked to take personal well-being surveys on a 4 week basis.
Those surveys asked the students to rate “their perceived stress levels and overall quality of life. They referred to three categories: mental, emotional, and physical.”
As you’ve already learned, the students who followed a group fitness program fared the best when it came to substantive increases in their total health.
Individuals who were in the group fitness programs had a 12.6% increase in their mental health as well as a 24.8% improvement in their physical well being
The most pronounced benefits were on emotional health and reductions in stress levels. Group fitness participants saw 26% improvements in both of these areas of health.
Those who followed an individual program didn’t get nearly the same kind of benefits.
As the researchers note: “the participants who had engaged in individual workouts appeared to have put more effort into their physical activity plan but gained much less from the experience, with no significant improvement of stress levels and little improvement of their overall quality of life.”
Here’s what this means for you, the reader who’s probably not in medical school, but still has to deal with the demands of life.
If you’re not the kind of person who thrives on individual workouts, you might consider joining a class or workout program that includes the positive affirmations of others to help boost your exercise productivity.
As Dr. Yorks wrote: "The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone."
Given this data on the positive impact group fitness can have, schools should consider offering group fitness opportunities.
Giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically," she adds, "can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession."
Work out, but try and do it with others if you can.