Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise?

Abstract

This study sought to determine if the stress-reducing benefits of exercise are improved by exercising with others rather than alone. One hundred and thirty-six participants completed a series of questionnaires measuring levels of tension, calmness, energy, and tiredness before exercise, immediately following exercise, and later that day before bedtime. Participants exercised on a laboratory stationary bicycle for 30 minutes at moderate intensity either alone, with another person while talking, or with another person while remaining silent. A series of ANOVA procedures revealed that participants generally experienced more energy and calmness and less tiredness after exercise. Furthermore, exercising with someone resulted in more calmness but also more tiredness than when exercising alone. Males generally reported more positive psychological effects than females. Results suggest that exercise with someone may be calming but more tiring due to a potential increased competition or workload.

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Correspondence to Thomas G. Plante.

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Plante, T.G., Coscarelli, L. & Ford, M. Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise?. International Journal of Stress Management 8, 201–213 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011339025532

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  • stress
  • coping
  • exercise
  • social support