Stick with fitness by doing group exercise.
Exercising in a group makes you stick with it. That’s the finding of new research out of Cambridge, UK, analysing multiple studies involving physically healthy adults walking for fitness.
Researchers compared walking in groups with walking alone. They found that those who exercised in groups were more likely to stick with the activity after six months.
The meta-analysis from Anglia Ruskin University looked at 18 different studies about walking as exercise. In addition, seven of the studies measured ‘quality of life’ outcomes. Of those, five showed significantly improved scores from walking in groups. That is, when engaging in group exercise people felt better.
“Walking in groups is a safe and inexpensive intervention that can be delivered easily and successfully in the community,” said lead author Professor Catherine Meads.
“At a time when we are being encouraged to meet physical activity guidelines, a large proportion of the public fail to do so. Our review found that people may be more likely to exercise if they have social support.”
This social support while exercising also tended to increase the participants’ life satisfaction and improve “social connectedness,” said Professor Meads.
Although this study, published in International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, looked at walking as the form of group exercise, further research might look at how other forms of group fitness have social and physical benefits. This could include, for example, circuit training or indoor group cycling.
For more reasons you might want to try group fitness, see this article on the benefits of training with others.
Meads, C. and Exley, J. (2018.) ‘A systematic review of group walking in physically healthy people to promote physical activity.’ International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 1-11. Published online: 17 January 2018. doi.org/10.1017/S0266462317001088