Group Exercise Is Best for Mental Health

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Hitting the gym is pretty much always good for your body, no matter how you do it. But a new study found that working out in groups (taking classes, exercising with friends, anything) is way better for your physical, emotional, and mental health than going it alone.

Men and women box jumping in a fitness class

Cool, but by how much? After months of tracking their quality of life, the participants who worked out in groups said their mental health was 13 percent better than it was before, and their physical and emotional health improved by about 25 percent. Even better, their stress decreased by almost 26 percent, which is (obviously) no small amount.

For comparison, participants who worked out alone didn’t report any changes in their physical or emotional quality of life. They did report their mental health improved by 11 percent, but that’s after exercising for twice as long as those who worked out in groups. Yikes.

If you love your quiet morning run alone or you hate the idea of spending money on workout classes, you don’t have to completely change your ways. Maybe just get some friends together and hit the gym a few times a week as a group—or check out free fitness classes in your area.

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