Oxford researcher, Emma Cohen, found that group workouts produced more endorphins and were more effective.
Researchers from Oxford's Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology studied the university's famed rowing team. The crew was divided into teams of six, each of which performed a series of identical workouts on rowing machines. The only variable was whether the workouts were performed alone, or in teams with the six machines synchronized by the crew's coxswain.
After each workout, a blood-pressure cuff was tightened around one arm of each subject until he reported pain, an indirect method of measuring endorphin levels in the brain.The rowers' pain threshold was consistently twice as high after exercising with their teammates compared to exercising alone, even though the intensity of the workouts was identical.
The endorphin surges can likely be traced back to the evolutionary benefits of group bonding, the researchers suggest.