Exercise is contagious. That's the finding of a just-released study from Nature, which analyzed the exercise patterns of more than a million active runners worldwide, who ran more than 350 million kilometers during the 5-year period of the study.
Researchers found that for every 10 minutes a person's friend exercised, caused that individual to run an extra 3 minutes. Beyond that, every additional kilometer a friend ran, caused that person to run an extra 0.3 kilometers – regardless of weather patterns or geographical location.
What this means, and what the study sheds light on, is what your friends do or don't do in one city affects what you do or don't do the other side of the country. Simply put: If it’s raining in Boston and your friend doesn’t run, that can impact the chance of you running on a sunny day in Baltimore because you motivate each other.
To top it off, researchers found that less active friends influence their active friends, not the reverse; and that while men and women influence men, but only women influence women. No surprise there?
This study comes just as BurnAlong today announced a much-requested integration with leading wearables. The integration means that you can track both online and offline activity through the BurnAlong dashboard, and encourage and compete with friends using goals and challenges. So, whether you're the friend outdoors running in Rhode Island, the one working out in Wisconsin online, or the one attending a class in person in Perth, all your progress can be tracked through BurnAlong. It's going to make an interesting follow-up study for Nature.