NEW YORK, April 20 (Xinhua) -- A new research of exercise behaviors of over one million people revealed that running can be contagious.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications earlier this week, has found that people can run longer, faster and more often if their friends using exercise apps and sharing data on social media.
Choosing 1.1 million people who used a specific social media network, Sinan Aral and Christos Nicolaides of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used fitness-tracking devices to monitor their running information over five years.
"The data contain the daily distance, duration and pace of, as well as calories burned during runs undertaken by these individuals," the research showed. "When a run was completed, it was immediately digitally shared with friends of the runner."
The team found that for every extra kilometer (about 0.62 mile) run by one person, his or her friends ran around half a kilometer more than they usually did.
"Exercise is socially contagious," they concluded.
Besides, the study suggested that runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse or better than their own.