Burning calories easier with mate?

Those who exercise with a friend post better workout time and intensity by as much as 200 percent.

So says a study by Brandon Irwin, assistant professor of kinesiology at the Kansas State University. He and his colleagues tested whether individuals engage in more intense physical activity when alone, or with a virtual partner or while competing against a team mate.

"People like to exercise with others and make it a social activity," Irwin said. "We found that when you're performing with someone who you perceive as little better than you, you tend to give more effort than you normally would alone."

For the first part of the study, college-age females exercised on a stationary bike over a four-week period. On average, each participant rode for 10 minutes, according to a Kansas university statement.

Next, the same group returned to the lab for more exercise but was told they were working out with a partner in another lab whom they could see on a screen.

"In this group, participants rode an average of nine minutes longer than (when) exercising alone." Irwin and his team had a hunch that motivation could rise further.

The participants were given more exercise sessions with a virtual partner. Participants in this trial exercised approximately two minutes longer than while working out with someone.


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