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Exercising with friends may reduce stress — Study

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You can better reduce stress and boost your quality of life by hitting the gym with your friends compared to exercising alone, a study has found.

According to the study, which was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, working out in a group lowers stress by 26 percent while those who exercise individually intensifies their effort but experienced no significant changes in their stress levels.

Researchers recruited 69 medical students – a group known for high levels of stress and self-reported low quality of life – and allowed them to self-select into a twelve-week exercise programme either within a group setting or as individuals.

Participants completed a survey every four weeks asking them to rate their levels of perceived stress and quality of life in three categories: mental, physical and emotional.

According to researchers, those participating in group exercise spent 30 minutes at least once a week at a core strengthening and functional fitness training programme. At the end of the twelve weeks, their monthly average survey scores revealed significant improvements in all three quality of life measures: mental, physical and emotional.

A 26.2 percent reduction in perceived stress levels was also reported, researchers said.

The individual fitness participants were asked to maintain any exercise regimen they preferred.

The exercises include activities like running and weightlifting. The participants had to work out alone or with no more than two partners

It was discovered by the team that the lone exercisers worked out twice as long on average and saw no relevant changes in any measure, except in their mental quality of life.

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