Health benefits of working out with a group

Recent studies have found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program.  Group activity may not be a new concept but it has certainly seen up-trends over the last twenty years with rapidly rising numbers in spin cycling, aerobic and dance-based classes to name a few. Researchers found that participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around them.

Researchers noted some key advantages to working out with a group include:

Increase your commitment to a fitness routine:  Working out with a crowd improves consistency, duration, motivation, conversation and inspiration.  Positive peer pressure can help curtail the urges to skip a workout … or quit.

One study found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76 percent completion rate for those who tackled the program alone.

Push yourself harder:  When it comes to fitness, you tend to push yourself harder when tasked with working out with people who are fitter than you. Those who exercised with a more-capable partner increased their plank time by 24 percent.

Get a competitive edge: One reason why you may push yourself harder when others are grunting alongside of you is the innate competitive streak in all of us. Group settings can lead to a positive competitiveness. Researchers found that people who exercised with someone they thought was better than them increased their workout time and intensity by 200 percent.

Capitalize on endorphins: Group workouts can have a couple of mental advantages over solo workouts. While it’s true that working out releases endorphins (think of all of that talk of a runner’s highs), a group setting can lead to the release of endorphins outside of just physical exertion. An added benefit of this mood boost is that when you’re pushing yourself hard and struggling through more difficult parts of your workout you’ll feel better and more energized to complete the exercises.

Diversify your workouts: Having spotters to make sure that you’re performing an exercise correctly and can do said exercises in a safe manner. In some instances, having a partner can even help you do exercises that you couldn’t do on your own.

Get external motivation when you’re dragging: Being a part of this type of community can provide a huge boost of motivation beyond the one that comes with the physical benefits of a workout, which can be helpful for those finding it hard to stay committed.

Motivation improves because group workouts are often filled with encouragement; ‘You can do it!’ cheers and other accolades from others keep the energy and motivation high.

Some experts recommend sticking to cardio-based classes when challenging yourself in a group or partner setting, since strength training and high-intensity exercises are so personalized and can require individual instruction. It is important that you find a group of people or class that fits your personality.

Remember it should be a fun time!