Learning the benefits of group exercise might make you think twice about flying solo when it comes to your personal training routine. Being around other people, whether you’re taking fitness classes or you’re with a group of friends, might just help you reach your fitness goals.
Here’s a look at how group fitness programs could help increase your fitness levels and benefit your overall health and wellbeing.
Spotlight On Health And Wellness: Group Exercise
In one study, researchers found that group fitness activities may have a major impact on your quality of life. They found that participants in the study who exercised together had a greater increase in their mental, emotional, and physical quality of life compared to those who worked out alone or didn’t work out at all.1
Can Group Exercise Increase Endurance And Pain Tolerance?
There is evidence that group fitness activities can have a positive effect on performance for everyone involved.
In one study, researchers studied a group of people who worked out on rowing machines. One group worked out together, while the other group worked out individually. The researchers found that the participants who worked out together and synchronized their rowing movements had a higher level of pain tolerance than those who worked out on their own.
The researchers believe the reason is that those who were in sync with others had a greater release of endorphins.2 These are the so-called
“feel good” hormones that can help people fight through a taxing workout more easily.3
Another study found that people who worked out with close friends performed better on an endurance test. The participants in the study were teammates on a rugby team. Researchers think the strong bonds that already existed among the participants contributed to their increased endurance.4
Like-Minded People: Can Fitness Classes Keep You Motivated?
Participating in group fitness activities such as fitness classes or scheduled workouts with friends may help increase your commitment level to your workout routine. Whether you’re doing interval training, running, or anything else, doing it with like-minded people can keep you motivated to not only show up but work harder.
According to one study, 95 percent of participants who started a weight-loss program with their friends finished the program. This is compared to 76 percent who did the program alone. In addition, the group was 42 percent more likely to maintain the weight loss they accomplished.5
Work Harder: Can Group Fitness Help To Challenge And Push You Further?
Working out in a group setting can also feed your competitive instincts, making you work harder. You’ll tend to push yourself more when you’re around people with higher fitness levels than you. This is known as the Köhler Effect. 6
Researchers conducted a study to see how valid the Köhler Effect is when it comes to exercise. Participants performed isometric plank exercises. The researchers found that when participants worked with a partner, they increased their plank time by 24 percent.7
Another study showed that those who worked out in a team format were able to double their exercise time compared to those who worked out solo. 8
Tips On Finding The Best Fitness Classes For Your Exact Needs
There are more than likely a variety of exercise classes in your area. It can be overwhelming to decide which facility, fitness class, or instructor is right for you. Here are a few tips to help you make your decision.
- Look online for fitness classes near you or ask friends for recommendations. One of the most important considerations is how fun the class seems. You’ll want to look forward to attending the class, and not dread it. Otherwise, the chances of you sticking to your program will not be good.
- Check out the class in person and see if it’s held in a clean facility. You should also check out the equipment to see if it’s in good shape.
- Take notice of whether or not the instructor does a good job of interacting with his or her students. The instructor should encourage the class and help the members achieve their fitness goals.
- If possible, find out what kind of qualifications and training the instructor has. An instructor with the proper training can help you adjust your routine to fit your specific fitness level.9
- Consider the cost of the class and your budget. How much does the class cost? If you’re looking at a class held at a private health club, it will probably be more expensive than the ones you’ll find at a local community center.
Make Sure You Keep Your Doctor In The Loop Before Starting An Exercise Routine
No matter what type of workout program you’re starting – whether you’re trying to tone specific muscle groups, lose a certain amount of weight, or anything else – talk to a doctor first. They can make recommendations for meeting your weight loss goals based on your medical history.
If you take a few precautions and take it slow, there’s no reason why you can’t benefit from group exercise. It might just end up being one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your health and wellness. Just make sure you not only get the OK from a doctor but also do a thorough job of checking out any classes you might be considering.