It Turns Out You Really Can Catch The “Running Bug”

A new study looked at 5 years worth of fitness tracker data and social connections and found out that exercise is actually contagious.

A new study found that exercise can be contagious. So, here’s what you need to know to catch the running bug.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications and looked at the running habits of about 1.1 million people. The Los Angeles Times explained how the study worked: researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at fitness tracker data for those 1.1 million runners, breaking them down by their social network ties. After being able to pinpoint geographic location and weather for the runners connected.

On the same day on average, an additional kilometer run by friends influences an individual to run an additional 0.3 kilometers. An additional kilometer per minute run by friends pushes a person to run an additional 0.3 kilometers per minute faster than usual. If those friends run an extra 10 minutes, that person is likely to run about three minutes longer than they would have. If those friends burn an extra 10 calories, that person will end up burning 3.5 more calories.

Runners did influence their friends to run more, but not every influence was equal, so to speak. Some runners had a greater impact on their friends than others. Also of note? Women were only influenced by other women.

You can read even more in this article and think about who may be influencing you to get out and run!