A recent study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reveals that exercisers who work out in a group setting showed a significant reduction in physical, emotional and mental stress compared to those who work out alone.

Researchers at the University of New England tracked 69 medical students, divided into three groups: one group met to complete a core and strength-training regimen for a minimum of 30 minutes each week for 12 weeks. A second group committed to working out alone, while a third “control” group abstained from purposeful exercise.

Each study participant was asked to complete a survey every four weeks, rating their own perceived levels of stress and quality of life in three categories: mental, physical and emotional.

At the end of twelve weeks, researchers examined the data and found that only the group that exercised as a team saw improvement in all three categories. Group exercisers saw an increase of 12.6 percent in mental health, 24.8 percent in physical health and 26.2 percent in mental health, while those who worked out alone saw only an 11 percent increase in mental health.

Dr. Dayna Yorks, who led the study, told DailyMail.com, “The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone.”

She went on to say, “Medical schools understand their programs are demanding and stressful. Given this data on the positive impact group fitness can have, schools should consider offering group fitness opportunities. Giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession.”

Courtney Cameron is Editorial Assistant of Athletic Business.