The mental and physical benefits of exercise have been documented in countless studies over the past several decades. It’s no secret that physical activity promotes longevity and improves quality of life in nearly everyone, yet it can be challenging for many to stick to a fitness protocol.
A great way to increase commitment to a new exercise schedule is to sign up for group classes, like Pongo Power’s running club, Rev Up to Run!
Here are four proven benefits of exercising in a group.
Cherilyn Hultquist, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Science at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA, writes that when women, “tend to exercise when they perceive high levels of social support in their lives.”
Hultquist says that the familiar faces in class make the workouts more fun, and less stale.
“It becomes a community with common goals.”
Interacting with new friends in class can also be encouraging and motivating, according to Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise, Cedric Bryant. Group exercise sessions and running clubs foster friendly accountability.
"Individuals are more inclined to come to the session because of social interaction, but also to put forth better effort, because of the group dynamic that occurs with others: a positive competition, in a sense," Bryant writes.
According to Bryant, “...if the goal is to acquire a new positive habit,” in this case exercise, "research clearly shows that if you find something you deem enjoyable, you will stick with it."
There’s science behind enjoying group activity more than solo work. A famous study of rowers measured their endorphins (the same feel-good chemicals that produce the "runner's high", create a feeling of well-being, and even block pain) when exercising as a group, or alone.
When exercising with their teammates, the rower’s endorphins were nearly twice as high.
“Endorphins are produced by virtually any vigorous physical activity, but group work appears to enhance the effect dramatically - and there's plenty of evidence that exercise classes meet that description,” writes Alex Hutchinson for The Globe and Mail.
“In a series of studies stretching back more than a decade, University of Saskatchewan Professor Kevin Spink has found those who feel a greater sense of "groupness" and cohesion within an exercise class, are more punctual, have better attendance, and even work harder.”
Working out in a group can be more motivating than working out solo. The dedicated energy of others can push you to work harder, and provide you with inspiration and confidence.
“A bit of gentle peer pressure and friendly competition can go a long way when it comes to motivation,” states Dr. Dawn Skelton, Professor of Aging and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Norwich Medical School found that regular walks conducted with a group helped reduce blood pressure, resting heart rates and body fat levels. According to the study, those individuals who participated in group walks traveled further and faster than they normally would have on their own, displayed a more positive attitude towards exercising, and felt less isolated and alone in their daily lives.
4. Good Coaching
Last but not least, when you join a group exercise class or a running club, you have the added benefit of a qualified coach to check your form and provide you with feedback.
Pongo Power coaches are here to offer you guidance every step of the way.
We’ll help you get the most out of your run, while preventing injury and strain. Rev Up to Run! covers everything a beginner runner needs to know.
We’ll provide you with a solid stretching routine, teach you a proper warm up, and show you how to cross train with free weights.
Call or e-mail Coach Julie Petrusak today to learn more, or to set up your FREE breakthrough session.
About the Author
Julie Petrusak, Personal Trainer
Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist, by the National Academy of Sports Medicine
Julie is a certified corrective exercise specialist, who holds a B.FA. in Dance from the Alvin Ailey-Fordham University Dance program. She is a certified kettlebell instructor, and has taught extensively in barre fitness and high-intensity interval training.
Julie believes that moving body is a happy body. She pursues her passion for human movement practically, by training clients and instructing group fitness classes, and artistically by choreographing and directing her dance company JP Dance Group. Julie’s dance background and fitness experience allows her to offer her clients a well-rounded, diverse offering of expertise. She takes a holistic approach to training and strives to help her clients transform not just their bodies, but also their mind-body connection, positive self-image, and overall well-being.