HappinessMental Health

16 Amazing Social Benefits of Exercise

social benefits exercise Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Reviewed by Nancy Diaz, MSW. Updated on April 27, 2021. 2nd update August 21, 2022.

Physical activity is often recommended for your own physical and mental health. However, exercise has even been shown to have numerous social benefits as well. Below are a few ways exercise can also influence a healthy social life.

Main Social Benefits of Exercise

Hormones and Happiness

After a good workout or physical activity, your body releases a hormone called endorphins which lower stress and anxiety. Endorphins make you feel happier. When you feel happier, people enjoy your company and the positivity that you bring to gatherings. Even if you are an introvert, being authentically happy adds good energy to social meetings.

Happy people can contribute to conversations healthily and are more willing to smile. Smiling, though a simple act, has a powerful effect on social health and social interaction.

Enjoying Like-Minded Company

If you enjoy working out, playing a sport, or participating in outdoor exercise, you’ll likely find a group of people that enjoy the same leisure. By being able to exercise together, you are able to find others who have similar interests as you. This also allows you to branch out to other social spheres while bonding during a fun physical activity you share in common. Psychologically, this gives us a sense of belonging that we as people crave.

Exercise can also be a great conversation starter for those that prioritize physical activity in their lives. Learning about new ways to exercise and new classes can also help us meet new people.

Feel A Sense of Togetherness

social benefits of exercise

When working out together in an activity that involves coordinated movements, such as running or dancing, physically moving in sync with one another psychologically allows us to feel a sense of togetherness and bonding. This can be a social benefit to those who struggle with depression and social anxiety.

For those with social anxiety, the physical movement of togetherness along with the endorphin release from exercise may make a more welcoming environment to ease into. Also, getting together without having to constantly verbally socialize may be ideal for those with anxiety.

Learning Teamwork

Another social benefit from exercise is learning teamwork. If one plays a sport, learning how to work in a team and communicate effectively towards a goal can help social interactions outside of your workout. This also includes being a team member of a social group and in a work setting as well.

While playing on a team, this can also allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment as a group and increase your confidence in your ability to socialize profitably.

Increase Self-esteem

social beneftis exercise

Exercise can increase your self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment. Studies have shown that an increase in self-esteem is related to better social interaction and healthier relationships.

With an increase in self-esteem, you are able to interact positively with others and understand how to implement and receive healthy boundaries and create positive relationships.

Exercise is considered a keystone habit. Keystone habits are actions that have a transcendently positive effect on many aspects of one’s life. Studies have shown that exercise affects your body’s health as well as supports a positive life mindset and self-esteem. With a healthy increase, exercise has been shown to have social benefits.

Other Social Benefits of Exercise

Push Your Limits and Increase Motivation

social benefits of exercise

Healthy competition, and keeping each other motivated is another important social benefit of exercise.


Together it will be more easy to keep your consistency and avoid skipping workouts.

Sense of Belonging

Being part of a team creates a sense of belonging, which is a feeling that all humans need.

Boost Energy

If you exercise regularly you will have more energy left during the day to meet new people and socialize.

Boost Memory and Thinking  

Social interaction, as well as exercise, are known to improve cognitive functions.  


social benefits of exercise

In social activities like sports, communication is crucial. By practicing it you will become a better communicator.

Coping With Negative Emotions

 Dealing with negative emotions alone is the worst you can do. A better option is to share these emotions with others and turn your mood around by practicing sports together. Exercise and Social activities have lots of benefits for your mood.

Helps You Focus

One of the social benefits of exercise is that it improves your concentration, which will make you a more relaxed person to be around.

Learn to Follow Rules

Each sport has a set of rules, life also has, and it is important to learn to play within these limits.


social benefits of exercise 1

By joining a sports club you will interact with the other members, and make new friends.


By practicing sports in a social context you will learn to help the weaker members of your team.                                            

Summary: What are the 5 social benefits of an active lifestyle?

  1. Enjoying like-minded company
  2. Feel a sense of togetherness
  3. Enhance teamwork skills
  4. Push your limits, and increase your motivation
  5. Learn to follow rules

infographic 5 social benefits of exercise
infographic social benefits of exercise

Interesting Questions and Answers about the Social Benefits of Exercise

park run social benefits of exercise

What are the social benefits of exercise for elderly?

  • Reinforces social bonds
  • Boosts confidence
  • Brings joy
  • Hobbies are important in life
  • Improves physical fitness, and mobility
  • Reduces risk of depression
  • Benefits cognitive functions and awareness

How does exercise benefit a child’s social development?

  • Sense of belonging
  • Development of social skills
  • Improved body image
  • Stress reduction
  • Lowers risk of depression
  • Making new friends
  • Developing resilience

How does exercise improve mental health?

  • Improves mood
  • Fosters a positive self-image
  • Increases energy levels
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Lowers feeling of loneliness

How does exercise improve self-esteem?

  • Weight control
  • Muscle gain
  • Change of Mindset
  • Sense of Accomplishment
  • Regain a sense of Control
  • Clear skin
  • Better sex life

What are the advantages of social life?

  • Share emotions & Get Support
  • Improves mood & Keep a positive outlook on life
  • Sense of safety & Sense of belonging
  • You’ll Build self-confidence
  • Expands Your Horizon & You’ll get more opportunities
  • Enhances Your Mental Health
  • Boosts You Immune system & Makes you live longer


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Coalter, F. (2005). The social benefits of sport (Vol. 17). Edinburgh: SportScotland.

Plante, T. G., Gores, C., Brecht, C., et al. (2007). Does exercise environment enhance the psychological benefits of exercise for women?. International Journal of Stress Management, 14, 1, 88.

McAuley E., Szabo A., Gothe N., et al. (2011). Self-efficacy: Implications for Physical Activity, Function, and Functional Limitations in Older Adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 5, 4.

Ruby, M. B., Dunn, E. W., Perrino, A., et al. (2011). The invisible benefits of exercise. Health Psychology, 30, 1, 67.

Eime, R. M., Young, J. A., Harvey, J. T., et al. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 10, 1, 1-21.

Stephan Y., Sutin A. R., Luchetti M., et al. (2018) Physical activity and personality development over twenty years: Evidence from three longitudinal samples. Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 173-179.

Heart Research UK: Psychological and social benefits of exercise

Helpguide.org: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Armycadets.com: The Physiological and Social Benefits of Physical Activity for Adults

Planetfitness.com: 5 Social Benefits of Exercise That Might Surprise You

Exercise.co.uk: The Social Side of Exercising and the Benefits of Using it

National Institute on Aging: The Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Association for Applied Sportpsychology: Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Truefitness.com: The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

The BXNG Club.com: Mental Health Impacts from Working Out at the Gym

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