Have you ever tried to start an exercise program, but found that you gave up too quickly because it’s simply hard to get yourself out the door to the gym? You may benefit from working out in a group instead of by yourself.
Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University reviewed 18 previous studies that involved adults walking regularly alone, in groups, or not walking at all. The adults in the studies were physically healthy. The data showed that individuals who walked in groups were more likely to keep up the exercise routines by the end of the study periods (an average of six months across the 18 studies). The study was published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care.
The study results show that walking with a group can increase your likelihood of both enjoying and continuing your exercise program. And by sticking to your exercise program, it can increase your overall mood, because individuals who exercise scores higher in in the studies that measured quality of life. Working out in groups, particularly walking, can help you increase your personal satisfaction and also improve your social connections.
These findings are great news for those who are looking for ways to add exercise ton their daily activity. While most individuals are aware that exercise is important, a large number of people fall short of actually adding regular physical activity to their schedule. But with social support, you may be able to meet these goals. In fact, walking in groups is inexpensive and easy to accomplish in most communities.
You can ask around with friends and family to find the group that you can walk with regularly. You can also join a local walking group sponsored by your community or take a class in a local gym in order to start reaping these benefits of working out in a group.
Exercising regularly is a huge benefit for your overall health. In addition to keeping your weight in check, it can also help you to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and can improve your mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. However, the foods that you use to fuel before your workout and recover once it’s over are important factors. Without the right nutrition, you might not see the full benefits of exercising.
Before Your Workout
It’s best to eat something anywhere from three hours to 30 minutes before your workout begins. Try different intervals to find the best time that works for your body. You need carbohydrates for energy, or else you’ll end up feeling weak and tired while exercising. Rather than feel forced to end your workout early, eat a simple carbohydrate that can be digested quickly, such as:
- Whole wheat crackers
- Granola bar
Adding protein before your workout is a good idea as well, especially if your exercise involves any kind of strength training. Protein will help to rebuild your muscles. Consider a snack consisting of foods such as:
- Hardboiled egg
Remember that staying hydrated is important, too—so drink plenty of water before and during your workout.
After Your Workout
You need to replenish your body after exercising. This aids with energy replenishing and muscle recovery. If you’re not due for a meal, at least plan to have a snack within 20 minutes of your workout ending. Aim for something containing complex carbohydrates and protein, such as brown rice with tofu or fish. Skip out on sugary meal bars, smoothies, or energy drinks. Some good quick snack ideas include:
- Graham crackers and peanut butter
- Whole wheat toast and banana
- Whole wheat toast and hardboiled eggs
- A veggie omelette
- A wheat pita with hummus
And of course, remember to continue hydrating after your workout is finished.