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A new study has shown that physical activity and exercise are 'contagious' because social media. Researchers the Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT) discovered that people who post details their exercise patterns and achievements social media sites motivate and encourage other people to be more active. Researchers tracked the exercise routines 1.1 million runners a period five years. They looked the geographic location the runners, their social network use, distance, time, pace and the calories they burned. The researchers concluded that sharing personal exercise data via social media can inspire others to exercise more, exercise harder and do so more competitively.

The journal 'Nature Communications' has published the research. The study includes detailed accounts how inspiring it can be to read a friend's physical activity. Researchers said: " average, an additional kilometre run friends can inspire someone to run an additional three-tenths a kilometre, and an additional ten minutes run friends can inspire someone to run three minutes longer." The study said social media improved the performance runners who had been a little slower or less shape, and those who were showing signs overtaking a friend's performance. Researcher Sinan Aral said: " general, if you run more, it is likely that you can cause your friends to run more."

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