Group Workouts Provide More Benefits Than Working Out Alone
Group exercise programs can cut stress by 26 percent and significantly boost quality of life, while exercising alone results in no significant changes in stress levels and minimal quality of life improvement, according to a small study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Researchers at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, recruited 69 medical students for a 12-week group or individual exercise program. Med students are typically known to have high stress levels and a low quality of life. A control group did not exercise during the study, except as a means of transportation.
Every four weeks, researchers asked study participants to complete a survey rating their stress levels and quality of life, mentally, physically, and emotionally. At the end of the study, those who had exercised in a group setting for 30 minutes at least once per week experienced an average 12.6 percent enhancement in self-perceived mental health, a 24.8 percent bump in feelings of physical well-being, a 26 percent improvement emotionally, and 26.2 percent lower levels of stress. Those who worked out alone – twice as long, on average – experienced no improvements except for an 11 percent increase in mental quality of life.