Have you ever been at the gym and noticed a group of 20 or so people all working out together in one of the side rooms? Have you ever gone to the pool and noticed a bunch of people all doing the same movements together? Have you been on your couch at home and seen advertisements of people working out together?
Seeing all this group exercise might have you wondering, should I be working out with a group? What are the benefits of group exercise?
There’s actually plenty of fun group workout ideas and a myriad of benefits of working out in a group. While the benefits that are most important to you may be different from the ones that are most important to someone else, it’s worth knowing what they are so you can decide if group exercise is right for you. In this guide, we’ll explore the top 9 benefits of group exercise.
#1 Group Exercise Can Motivate You
The first of many benefits is that group training can motivate you in your fitness goals, and sometimes just showing up. We always begin the year with the best intentions, motivated to start exercising regularly. But, after a couple of months, the excuses can start to creep in
Exercise is hard
I’m too tired to go to the gym today
My body is sore from the last time I went
It’s too cold outside
I have a lot of work to do
There’s just not enough time
Exercise is really hard!
To be fair, these are all valid reasons—exercising can be difficult, and we don’t always feel internally motivated to go to the gym. This is where group exercise can be helpful.
If you commit to meeting a friend for lunch, you may need to cancel based on any number of factors, but you’ll make every effort to try and make that lunch date because you made a commitment. Right?
Group exercise works the same way. You committed to yourself, your instructor, and your group that you would show up to exercise with them at a certain time. That extra commitment in a group setting may just be the motivation you need to push through the excuses.
#2 Group Exercise Can Help You Build Healthy Habits
In a scientific survey conducted in Australia, researchers asked 3,610 young women about three things:1
Their level of physical activity
Their eating habits
The social norms around these first two categories
They found that the answer to the final question about social norms was predictive when it came to the first two answers. What does this mean?
If the women were surrounded by people who were normally physically active, they tended to be physically active. If they were surrounded by people who ate healthily, they also tended to eat healthily. And vice versa.
As humans, we tend to adapt our behavior to meet the behaviors of those we associate with. Knowing that, if we want to be healthier, we should hang out with people who are being healthy (like people in a group exercise class).
#3 Group Exercise May Help You Get More Out of Your Workout
Do you want to know another thing about humans? We’re naturally competitive, and we all want to be the best. When you work out with other people, it’s natural to push yourself a little harder to not feel like you’re underperforming. This could lead to better overall gains from your workout.2
Of course, this approach does have its limits. For instance, just because you work out with the Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t mean you’ll be able to dunk a basketball. And if you feel like the weak link no matter how hard you try, you may become discouraged. It’s important to find a group that suits your fitness level so you can be motivated in a realistic way.
#4 Group Exercise Can Offer Support
Once you find the right group, their support can help you push through tough workouts.
Since everyone is doing the same exercises, you all know the difficulty of the movements. This means you can lean on each other to avoid moments of discouragement. Finding a non-judgmental, supportive group can go a long way to making exercise something you look forward to.
#5 Group Exercise Can Ensure Proper Form
Group classes tend to be led by expert instructors. Why is that important?
Even basic exercises have a lot of technical form elements that help ensure you get maximum benefit and avoid injury. Just look at some of the cues you should be aware of when doing a push-up:3
Hands slightly outside shoulder width
Neutral curve in the lower back
Glutes squeezed together
Scapula retracted to ensure your chest initiates the motion (not your shoulders)
Elbows only flared about 45 degrees to prevent potential shoulder injury
That’s already a lot to think about, and you haven’t even started the movement yet! Thankfully, it’s the instructor’s job to know the proper form and to help you perform the exercise correctly. Learning through an expert allows you to avoid injury and get the most benefit possible from each exercise.
#6 Group Exercise Can Introduce You to New Movements
In addition to teaching you proper form, a good instructor may also be able to teach you new ways of achieving your goals. For instance, they might introduce you to new exercises that you can incorporate into your routines.
They can also introduce you to new forms of exercise you may enjoy more than what you’ve already been doing.
There’s nothing wrong with running on a treadmill or lifting weights. But if those traditional forms of exercise are making you bored, classes may inspire you to try something new that works even better for your goals.4
#7 Group Exercise Can Help You Make New Friends
In a group exercise class, you’re going to meet people who you’ll have at least one interest in common with—a desire to workout and get healthy. Over time, these people may become your friends. This can have benefits both inside and outside of the gym:5
Learning – Many of us learn by watching others, and in group workout classes, it’s not just your instructor you can learn from. By watching others in your group (and them watching you) you may be able to help each other with issues that your instructor might miss.
Barrier breakdown – It’s not just waning motivation that keeps us from the gym. Sometimes, life gets in the way, but having a group of friends can help. Whether that help comes in the form of offering you a ride when your car’s in the shop or taping a class for you so you don’t miss a day, your new friends can help you overcome the hurdles life throws at you.
Socialization – Your new friendships don’t have to be tethered to the gym itself. Outside of the gym, you may find yourself grabbing drinks with your group or going to a movie together. After all, part of the fun of group exercise is the group element.
#8 Group Exercise Provides Structure
Another thing that’s easy to overlook is how we structure our exercise sessions. When we’re on our own, we may feel pressed for time and end up skipping our warmup, cutting our exercises short, or eliminating our cool down. That may save us time, but it can also lead to less effective sessions and a higher likelihood of injury.
By having a set start and end time, as well as a consistent structure, group classes take away our ability to short-change ourselves. They keep us safe from our own (sometimes misguided) shortcuts.
#9 Group Exercise Offers Variety
Do you know those frozen yogurt shops where you can go in and try a seemingly endless number of flavors and toppings? The group exercise offerings at your gym probably offer a comparable variety of fitness programs to choose from. Whether it’s HIIT group workouts, Tabata workouts for beginners, indoor cycling classes, etc., there’s always a group fitness class or exercise to get everyone involved.
Just look at some of the classes offered here at Chuze Fitness:
Body Combat – Punch, kick, and block your way through a workout that challenges you from a cardio and muscle-building standpoint.
Zumba – Try a mixture of exercise and dance that emphasizes fun while you work.
Yoga – Connect to your breath while pushing your core strength and your overall flexibility.
Piya® – Love yoga? Love dancing? Love athletics? Blend all three with this ultimate workout.
Aqua Fit – By getting you in the water, this class provides a perfect, no-impact option for those looking to recover from injury or those who just want to test their fitness levels off the land.
And these are just five examples. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be a group class that can deliver it.
As always, don’t forget the benefits of warming up before a workout, which can prevent injury, improve endurance, and more.
Find Your Group at Chuze Fitness
Group fitness provides both physical and mental health benefits and can be motivational to your fitness goals. At Chuze Fitness, we offer plenty of group exercise options, so you can enjoy all of the benefits of group exercise classes. Of course, if you’re still more of a solo workout individual, we have plenty of options for that, too.
Plus, our gyms are well-equipped, spotless, and full of friendly staff members that are here to help no matter where you are on your fitness journey.
If you’re ready to get all you deserve from a gym (at a price you can afford), find a Chuze Fitness near you.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Is healthy behavior contagious: associations of social norms with physical activity and healthy eating. https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-7-86
NBC News. The health benefits of working out with a crowd. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-you-should-work-out-crowd-ncna798936
National Academy of Sports Medicine. THE ANATOMY OF A PUSH-UP: EXPLORING PROPER PUSH-UP FORM AND TECHNIQUE. https://blog.nasm.org/nasm-guide-to-push-ups/form-and-technique
ACE. Benefits of Group Fitness Classes (Top 5 Reasons People Love Them). https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5892/benefits-of-group-fitness-classes-top-5-reasons-people-love-them/
Washington Post. Group exercise may be even better for you than solo workouts. Here’s why. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/exercise-motivation-group-workout-online/2021/02/19/c922b9a6-538c-11eb-a931-5b162d0d033d_story.html