Group exercise ‘boosts happiness’

Exercising together appears to increase the level of the feel-good endorphin hormones naturally released during physical exertion, a study suggests. A team from Oxford University carried out tests on 12 rowers after a vigorous workout in a virtual boat.  Those who trained alone withstood less pain – a key measure of endorphins – than those who exercised together.  Writing in Biology Letters, the authors speculate these hormones may underpin an array of communal activities.

The results suggest that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training even when power output, or physical exertion, remains constant,” said lead author Emma Cohen.  “The exact features of group activity that generate this effect are unknown, but this study contributes to a growing body of evidence suggesting that synchronised, coordinated physical activity may be responsible.”
“But more generally we know from experience that exercising in groups is good for people at many levels, it′s motivational, it′s social. Groups sessions really do work.”

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