Group Walking Can Improve Overall Health, Lower BMI

Exercising solo can be difficult for many people, leading individuals to give up on a fitness routine if there is no one to hold them accountable.

Recent research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says the case for group fitness is strong.

Led by a team from the University of East Anglia in England, the study found that people who regularly walk in groups tend to have better cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a reduction in body mass index.

"Our research shows that joining a walking group is one of the best and easiest ways to boost overall health," said study leader Sarah Hanson. "The benefits are wide ranging and they go above and beyond making people more physically active. People find it relatively easy to stick with this type of exercise regime."

Exercising in groups is a catalyst for healthy behaviors

Hanson said that people who walk in groups may be more likely to adopt other healthy behaviors. She also said it may keep people from feeling isolated or lonely.

Researchers found that walkers had better lung capacity, a lower incidence of depression and better overall physical functioning.

Of the 1,843 participants who were part of the study, three-fourths of these subjects stuck with their groups during walks.

"As an easy exercise to incorporate into daily life, group walking can be a good place for people to start if they need to engage in more moderate physical activity," said Hanson. "One way to promote and sustain walking is through the provision of outdoor health walk groups, schemes which typically organize short walks of under an hour in the natural environment."

Source: University of East Anglia

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