CAMBRIDGE, England — For many people, it’s not the exercise part of working out that’s difficult. It’s simply getting oneself outside or to the gym that’s the problem. If you fall in that category, new research says you may be more likely to pound the pavement if you work out in a group, rather than going at it alone.
The research, conducted at Anglia Ruskin University, shows that walking with a regular group improves a person’s likelihood of enjoying physical activity and even improves one’s quality of life. The study’s authors discovered that people who walked in groups stuck to their exercise routine longer than others.
To reach their findings, the researchers reviewed 18 previously-conducted studies which had physically healthy adults either walk regularly in groups, alone, or not at all. Overall, those who walked in groups were more likely to keep up regular exercise routines by the end of the study period, which averaged about six months across the experiments.
“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,” explains Catherine Meads, lead author of the review and a professor of health at the university, in a media release. “Walking in groups is a safe and inexpensive intervention that can be delivered easily and successfully in the community.”
In studies that also measured participants’ quality of life, individuals who exercised with others consistently scored higher.
“Walking in groups tended to increase life satisfaction and may also improve social connectedness,” says Meads.
The study was published online Jan. 17, 2018 in the journal International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care.