Exercise May Be Contagious

Exercise May Be Contagious

Exercise May Be Contagious

For example, runners were more likely to be influenced by peers who were slightly better or slightly worse runners than friends who were significantly better or significantly worse runners.

"Men strongly influence men, and women moderately influence both men and women".

A new study published today in Nature Communications of the daily-recorded exercise patterns of more than one million runners over five years shows that exercise is socially contagious.

MIT Sloan researchers used a data-set that recorded the geographic location, social network ties, and daily running patterns and logged those runs digitally in a global social network of runners. Similarly, if one runner was a little faster than usual on a particular day, his or friends would pick up their speed as well.

"Our network sample is reasonably representative of the one in five Americans who owns a wearable device and the over 100 million people who use fitness trackers worldwide", they wrote.

"The data contain the daily distance, duration and pace of, as well as calories burned during, runs undertaken by these individuals, as recorded by a suite of digital fitness-tracking devices", the researchers wrote. Comparing ourselves for others leads to further, faster and longer running.

One of the key findings of the data revealed numerous runners often compared themselves to those ahead of themselves to motivate their own self-improvement.

As mentioned, gender is important too. In this regard, men may be more competitive and, specifically, more competitive with each other. Men were affected by both their male and female friends, but more so by their male friends.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out if people just hang out with other people who are like them or like the same things, or if they're really influencing one another.

Researchers have previously looked for evidence of contagiousness within networks of friends for happiness, smoking and obesity but results have varied.

Now you have that ideal excuse to post details of your latest workout online.