Exercise can do wonders, but sometimes knowing this fact just isn’t enough to get from sofa to spin class. With the cold creeping in, we want to help you beat the winter blues, so we’ve swotted up on some of the latest research around exercise. Our aim? To serve up bite sized chunks of motivation so you feel spurred on to ditch the fleece for spandex.
Group exercise increases quality of life
Group physical activity has a bigger impact on overall quality of life than going it alone, so it’s time to rally the troops for a weekly dose of fulfilment! The study, carried out by The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, used first and second year medical students from the university to participate in one of three exercise groups:
- The fitness class group = group exercise.
- The health-enhancement group = alone or with a maximum of two companions.
- The control group = no regular exercise commitment.
Over a 12 week period, the researchers continuously surveyed the perceived stress of each participant, alongside their physical, mental and emotional quality of life. Compared to the health-enhancement and control group, students who participated in group fitness exercise at least once a week significantly decreased their level of perceived stress and increased their physical, mental and emotional quality of life.
These results aren’t saying being a lone wolf when exercising is bad; the study highlights the benefits in communal exercise can go above and beyond fitness — the social aspect of group fitness also positively aids mental and emotional capacities. So why not try socialising over squats instead of sofas?
Exercise is contagious
Yes, exercise shares similarities with the common cold — both are contagious… although we know which one we’d rather catch! A study published in the journal ‘Nature Communications’ has recorded the exercise patterns of 1.1m individuals over 5 years, using fitness tracking data to demonstrate that global friendship networks can influence one another. Researchers identified weather as being the best instrument to measure participant’s results against — they figured people generally run for longer when it’s good weather, and for shorter periods in bad weather. The team predicted that when runners in one location experienced good weather, they would increase their run, prompting their social network located elsewhere, to also increase their run, despite the different weather conditions. If you were to see your friend in Australia taking a sunny jog along the beach, would this motivate you to brave the English rain for an extra 10 minutes?
The team tested their theory and concluded exercise is socially contagious to varying degrees, depending on variables such as gender, network and activity levels.
Some rocks of knowledge we gained from the results:
- Men are easier to influence than women when it comes to exercise; this is due to men being receptive to both genders as influencers, compared to women only being affected by their female counterparts.
- Less active runners influence more active runners.
- The greater the mutual connections shared, the greater the influence — if there is a chance of wider repercussions, such as more people finding out, then you are less likely to ditch your running pal.
The Primal Pantry Pep Talk
Communal groups not only serve to motivate, but they also nourish their participants physically, mentally and emotionally. The Primal Pantry want to be part of your wider social network, cheering you on regardless of if you like running alone or working up a sweat at Zumba with your friends. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the awesome benefits that social can have on exercise, regardless of your ability or exercise style!
Mass participation sporting groups:
We thought we’d supply some examples of communal groups to get the ball rolling…
Whatever you’re up to, we’d love to keep in touch with your progress so we can share your successes. Tag or send us pictures so we can spread the fulfilment far and wide!
Photo by Adam Whitlock on Unsplash