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Surprising Science

Walking Groups Help Improve Health, Wellness

If your aim is to get healthy, numerous studies have said it's best not to go it alone. Take walking groups for instance, people are less likely to skip out on a daily walk if they're being held accountable by a group.

If your aim is to get healthy, numerous studies have said it’s best not to go at it alone. Take walking groups for example, people are less likely to skip-out on a daily walk if they’re being held accountable by a group. Jesse Singal from NYMag highlighted a recent meta-analysis that only continues to validate scientists’ claims that walking groups are really good for people’s health and well-being.

The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Their findings were based on examining 42 studies that involved walking groups comprised of 1,843 participants. Researchers found that those who joined a walking group were less likely to leave, keeping a consistent regimen that benefited the subjects physiologically as well as psychologically.

“With low levels of attrition, high levels of adherence and virtually no adverse effects this study suggests that walking groups could be a practicable intervention, acceptable to patients as a line of treatment with a potential for both physiological and psychological health benefits.” 

These walking groups saw lower blood pressure, better resting heart rates, reductions in body-fat percentage and cholesterol levels. Mentally, it helped reduce depression. What’s more the researchers found no downside or adverse effects appear in their examination of these walking groups. The researchers did note some concern when it came to lack of socio-economic information in their analysis of other studies, writing:

“A lack of socioeconomic information prevented analysis of the distribution and effects between different social groups confirming concerns … that such targeted interventions may be preferentially utilised by better-off groups and may thereby increase health inequalities.”

For the most part, the researchers concluded that there were no downsides to walking outside with a group of people you (hopefully) like and getting some well-needed activity. It has the ability to insight behavioral change by adding an accountability component and social encouragement into the mix.

Read more at NYMag

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks/Flicker


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