Exercising with friends improves your mood
New research from the University of Southern California suggests that people enjoy physical activity more when they’re with others.
For the study, researchers asked 117 people ages 27 to 73 to carry small mobile phones with them for four days. Eight times a day, participants received a prompt on their phone that asked them what they were doing, who they were with, where they were, and if they were outdoors, how much "greenness" was in the area. They also rated how happy they were, and how much they were enjoying the activity they were doing.
About 84 people reported at least one incident of physical activity over the four days. Those doing physical activity were happier, and enjoyed the physical activity more when they were with their spouse, friends or co-workers, compared with when they were alone, according to the findings. People also said they were happier when they were exercising outdoors in green areas.
While these findings provide a pathway to creating recommendations that encourage people not only to be active, but to participate with people and in places that help them to enjoy the activity more, the study does not prove that friends and green spaces were the cause of people's good mood during physical activity. The researchers also noted they did not ask people about the purpose of their activities.