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Want to burn more Calories?

Work out with a friend

A recent study commissioned by Virgin Active has shown that exercising with a friend can be better than working out on your own.

04 May 2015
By: Andy Garder
In: Articles

New research commissioned by Virgin Active, the UK’s leading health club has revealed that exercising with friends is considered better than exercising alone.

The findings emerged in a study of 1,000 women, comparing the habits of those who like to exercise alone compared to those who prefer company when working out.

Friends who exercise together were shown to train for longer, burn more calories, and visit their health club more regularly.

64 per cent of women who run as their exercise of choice, go to the gym or attend classes with their friends, push themselves harder than if they went alone.

In fact, the study shows 31 per cent of women consider their friends to be the main motivation they need to stay in good shape.

Gillian Reeves, National Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active Health Clubs comments,

"We all have a need to socialise and be with other people, it’s written into our DNA so it’s no surprise that a lot of people like to exercise with friends as this study shows.

"Sometimes having an exercise partner is the difference between sitting on the couch in the evening and getting up and out of the house. You are less likely to let your friend down if you arrange to meet them to go to a class or the gym.

"Many women will spur each other on, and provide their friends with the incentive they need to get going.

"Most importantly, having a friend to exercise with makes it more fun – and as well as training hard they can also catch up and treat the experience as another social event."

The study shows that during the average exercise session, women who exercise with friends burn up to 236 calories per session, compared to the 195 for women who prefer to go it alone.

The average workout for friends lasts for 42 minutes – with the average run lasting approximately 31 minutes.

For solo gym goers, sessions usually last for 36 minutes, and runs last just 29 minutes.

Less than half of those people who exercise alone claim to push themselves very hard when keeping fit – compare to 64 per cent of girls in groups.

Interestingly, 62 per cent of women who train alone claim they like to excel in a sport before showing off to friends.

In contrast, the same percentage of women who train with others believe their friends offer the encouragement they need to take sport seriously while 27 per cent like to have someone to compete against when exercising.

28 per cent of girls admit they even prefer working out in group exercise classes than going out for a run or cycling alone. Research shows that women who exercise in pairs or groups will go to the gym at least seven times a month, compared to lone trainers who go six times a month.

Women who train alone put in two extra sessions a month across all sports – doing 15 sessions compared to 13 for girls who exercise with friends - as they find it a little harder to arrange mutually convenient times to meet.

The study reveals that only 27 per cent of British women exercise with friends, compared to 73 per cent who exercise alone.

Gillian Reeves, National Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active Health Clubs, continues:

"Whatever gets you going – from walking or swimming to working towards taking part in an event like a triathlon, any form of exercise is will help you lead a healthier life and make you feel good, whether you prefer to work out on your own or in a group.

"We would recommend doing 150 minutes of physical activity per week - working out with friends in group exercise classes such as Zumba Fitness, Yoga and Body Pump is a great way to get active in a group environment and, most importantly, to have fun, tone up and burn calories in the process."

Top reasons for exercise for women who work out with friends include having a good gossip, long term health, to tone up, and to get out of the house.

Find a club near you to see what group exercise classes are scheduled.