Lumo is the fashion at Soweto Virgin Active, as worn by Sandra Ndlovu (left) and Lorraine Khumalo,at Virgin Active at Maponya Mall in Soweto 146 Picture: Matthews Baloyi 6/5/2012

Working out with friends is better than exercising alone, researchers say.

A study of 1 000 women found that 64 percent of those who run, go to the gym or attend group exercise classes with friends will push themselves harder than if they go alone.

Those who exercise together train for longer, burn more calories and go to the gym more often.

The study shows 31 percent of women consider their friends to be the motivation they need to stay in good shape.

A spokesman for Virgin Active Health Clubs, which carried out the research, said: “We all have a need to socialise and be with other people, it’s written into our DNA.

“Sometimes having an exercise partner is the difference between sitting on the couch in the evening and getting up and out of the house.

“You are less likely to let a friend down and it is more fun.

“Many women will spur each other on, and provide their friends with the incentive they need to get going.

“Most important, having a friend to exercise with makes it more fun – and as well as training hard they can also catch up and treat the experience as another social event.”

The study found that during the average session, women who exercised with friends burned up to 236 calories, compared with 195 for those who go it alone.

The average workout for friends lasts for 42 minutes – with the average run taking about 31 minutes.

For solo gym bunnies, sessions usually last for 36 minutes, and runs take just 29 minutes.

Less than half those who exercise alone claim to push themselves very hard when keeping fit – compared with 64 percent of girls in groups.

Interestingly, 62 percent of women who train alone claim they like to excel in a sport before showing off to friends.

Top reasons for exercise for women who work out with friends include having a good gossip, long-term health, to tone up, and to get out of the house.

Girls who train alone so do to give themselves more energy, and to look and feel good. – Daily Mail