Oct. 30 (UPI) -- New research suggests that working out with a group of people is significantly more effective than working out alone when it comes to lowering stress.
The study, published in the November edition of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, found that individuals who workout in a group have a 26 percent lower stress rate and improved quality of life compared to people who work out solo.
Researchers from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine studied 69 medical students participating in an exercise program over a 12-week period.
The participants worked out within a group or as individuals, and were evaluated every four weeks via a survey rating stress levels and quality of life in physical, mental and emotional health categories.
The study found that group exercise participants had significant improvements of 12.6 percent in mental health, 24.8 percent in physical health, 26 percent in emotional health and a 26.2 percent reduction in perceived stress levels.
Participants in the individual fitness routines worked out twice as long as the group participants and reported no significant changes in anything but mental health, with an 11 percent increase.
"The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone," Dayna Yorks, of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in a news release.
"The findings support the concept of a mental, physical and emotional approach to health that is necessary for student doctors and physicians."