A new research of exercise behaviours of over one million people, on Thursday, revealed that running could be contagious.

The study, published in the Nature Communications journal, found that people could run longer, faster and more often if their friends used exercise apps and share data on social media.

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Choosing 1.1 million people who used specific social media network, Sinan Aral and Christos Nicolaides of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S., used fitness-tracking devices to monitor their running information over five years.

They noted that the data contained daily distances, duration and pace, as well as calories burnt during runs undertaken by these individuals.

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Aral and Nicolaides stated that “when a run was completed, it was immediately digitally shared with friends of the runner.’’

The duo found that for every extra kilometre run by one person, his or her friends run around half a kilometre over what they usually did.

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They, therefore, concluded that “exercise is socially contagious.’’

Besides, the study suggested that runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse or better than their own. (Xinhua/NAN)