Should you ditch your daily run for a group walk? The health benefits of walking with friends may mean yes

By Kylie Gilbert
Corbis Images

You may think of walking groups as a pastime for, let's just say, a different generation. But that doesn't mean they should be off your radar all together.

Walking groups provide a wide range of both physical and mental health perks-for people of all ages, says a new meta-study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The researchers analyzed 42 studies and found that study participants who engaged in outdoor walking groups saw significant improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat, BMI percentages, and lung function. Social walkers were also significantly less depressed-which makes sense considering all we know about the mental health benefits of exercise. Plus, past studies show that slowing your roll may actually be healthier for you than running.

And, hey, even if you already get your daily dose of exercise from your normal high-intensity routine, there's something to be said for group support, which has been shown to help you stick to your weight-loss and fitness goals, while providing a therapeutic element. (Read more on that here: Should You Work Out Alone or With a Group?)

The moral of the story? Grab a couple friends (or find a walking group near you through sites like Meetup) and talk it out while you walk it out!

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