Researchers at Kean University, the US, explored the link between social interactions, a sedentary lifestyle, and physical fitness. The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The research team used a system of differential equations to assess the effects of social interactions on physical activity and exercise persistence. It surveyed data from the U.S. Army’s physical fitness test database.
The results revealed that social interactions with active peers can be helpful in boosting physical activity and an inclination to exercise among sedentary people. In fact, social influences can significantly induce exercise persistence and encourage a social group to be less sedentary.
The authors remarked: “We have traditionally directed physical activity interventions by engaging sedentary [or moderately active] individuals to become more active. Our model [suggests that an active friend can make you less sedentary. This approach can also] stimulate higher levels of overall physical activity in the population.”
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Mema, E., Spain, E. S., Martin, C. K., Hill, J. O., Sayer, R. D., McInvale, H. D., Evans, L. A., Gist, N. H., Borowsky, A. D., & Thomas, D. M. (2022). Social influences on physical activity for establishing criteria leading to exercise persistence. PloS one, 17(10), e0274259. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0274259