We all know that exercise is a great stress buster, however, new research has discovered there is one simple change you can make to significantly reduce stress.
There are few natural remedies for stress that are as effective (and multi-beneficial) as exercise. Whether it’s a leisurely walk, a sweat inducing HIIT workout, a blissful yoga class or resistance training – there’s no doubt that upon conclusion you’re left feeling more mentally and physically balanced. Now, new research has uncovered a simple technique that will allow you to increase the beneficial stress busting impact of your exercise routine by up to 25 per cent.
So what’s this wonder workout addition that will lower your stress? You’ll be happy to hear that it doesn’t require any additional effort – just a good, social attitude! According to The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, adding a group of friends to your workout appears to be the magic ingredient.
The results are in…
Published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the study found that working out in a group lowers stress levels by 26 per cent and simultaneously improves quality of life significantly. The study measured the increased quality of life in three categories with mental quality increasing by 12.6 per cent, physical by 24.8 per cent and emotional by 26 per cent.
While the results aren’t entirely surprising (anyone who’s done a group exercise class, particularly with friends, can attest to how much fun it is) they are significant when compared to the quality of life measures reported by those that exercised alone. On average, the individual participants in the study experienced no significant change in any quality of life measures except an 11 per cent increase in mental quality. More so, the individual fitness participants were often exercising for twice as long as the group exercisers.
“…working out in a group lowers stress levels by 26 per cent and simultaneously improves quality of life…”
The 12-week study was conducted on a group of medical students – a demographic known to have particularly high levels of stress and self-reported low qualities of life. The group exercisers spent at least 30 minutes a week in a core strengthening and functional fitness program, whilst the individual exercisers maintained as much or as little of any activity as they desired. Every four weeks each group completed a survey asking them to rate their perceived levels of stress as well as the three quality of life measures – mental, physical and emotional.
Of the irrefutable benefits the study uncovered, Doctor Dayna Yorks, lead researcher said, “the communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone.”
With this in mind, maybe next time you’re thinking of heading outside for a jog or to the gym for a training session, reconsider and try a group F45 or Pilates class – you’ll thank yourself later when you’re feeling clear with a stress-free mindset.