You might want to grab a couple of friends and head down to the gym this week for some really intense train, as a new study has shown that exerting in a group can decrease your stress levels by more than 25 percent.
The research is published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association and suggests that while those who exert alone might put in more work, exerting in a group could have some important benefits.
“The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone, ” explained research leader Dr Dayna Yorks from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. “The findings support the concept of a mental, physical, and emotional approach to health that is necessary for student doctors and physicians.”
In the experiment, 69 medical students exercised either alone or in a group. The researchers choice medical students as they are known for dealing with high levels of stress and “self-reported low quality of life”. The medics were given the choice of exercising in groups or on their own throughout a 12 -week period.
During the research, the students were monitored every 4 weeks by completing a survey that involved rating their perceived stress levels and quality of life.The groups of students did a core strengthening and functional fitness workout called CXWORX for 30 minutes at least once a week, whilst the students who worked out alone could opt their own fitness programs, such as operating or weightlifting.
The medics that chose to team up with their course mates saw a positive change in three quality of life measures. Mental health improved on average by 12.6 percent, physical health increased during 24.8 percentage, and emotional health watched the biggest boost, improving by 26 percentage. Stress levels also decreased by 26.2 percent.
Those who did exercising on their own worked out for twice as long, and insured no significant changes, apart from an 11 percent improvement in their mental quality of life. Meanwhile, a control group, who avoided workout other than walk-to and cycling for transportation, depicted no change in stress levels or perceived quality of life.
“Medical schools understand their programs are demanding and stressful. Given this data on the positive impact group fitness can have, schools should consider offering group fitness possibilities, ” said Dr Yorks.
“Giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession.”
So, if you’re looking for a route to decrease your stress levels, scheduling a weekly work out with your friends might just assist, and of course, induce you look and feel great.