Having just come back from a group walk, choosing to spend our lunch break using our limbs and having a good natter, rather than stuffing our faces (we did that afterwards, well earned too), we can certainly vouch for this: walking groups are really, really good for you. Don’t take our word for it, though, a new study backs it up.
It’s not just walking, it’s all kinds of exercise, but walking is a particularly easy and social option for the couch potatoes among us to get going. We’ve long assumed that it’s probably harder to give up on your exercise plans when you’ve got a buddy that you can’t let down, but now a new meta-study on the effectiveness of walking groups, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, succeeds in driving this point home. For this particular study, the researchers focused on 42 studies of walking groups involving over 1840 people, finding that those who took part in said groups saw measurable improvements in the following areas: blood pressure, body-fat percentage, cholesterol levels, lung function, resting heart rate and depression.
Sure, you’ll probably find these improvements if you exercise yourself, but other research suggests that you’ll feel more motivated and work even harder not to give up when you’re doing it with a friend. You’ll exercise more often too. A 2011 study, reported by the Daily Mail even found that during the average session, women who exercised with friends burned up to 236 calories, compared to 195 calories for women who exercised alone.
Key take away? Get yourself a walking buddy, your mind and body will thank you for it.