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Benefits of Group Exercise Classes

8 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Medically Reviewed by Eric Leckie, PT

Working out can be hard, especially if it means getting up early in the morning or hitting the gym after a long day at work. But there are ways to make getting physical exercise a little more interesting, a little more fun. Often, all it requires is getting together with other people and transforming a boring, solo workout into a group activity.

If you’ve been keeping your physical exercise to yourself and feel like you’re getting bored with your routine, then it’s worth exploring some of the many benefits of group exercise classes. With the right activity and a great group of people, you can make burning fat and calories less like work and more like a night out with your friends. Now, let’s take a closer look at some great reasons to give group exercise classes a try.

Boost Your Motivation

Struggling to find effective motivation may be the number one reason people stop getting physical exercise on a regular basis. Intense physical activities like running, cycling, or swimming require lots of energy, focus, and determination. And these requirements seem only higher and more demanding when doing them on your own, when the only person keeping you from quitting is yourself — something that can be a problem when life throws you a curveball, like a late-day meeting at work or a sick child at home.

But you can help overcome some of these obstacles to physical activity by joining a group exercise class, where you can count on a group of like-minded people to help push you forward and give your best effort. The impact of having a group of people striving towards a common goal can’t be underestimated, with this kind of motivation playing a key role in helping make a workout more interesting than when carried out alone.

Balance Your Routine

It can be easy to settle into a tired but comfortable physical exercise routine when engaging in a workout on your own. Without a group of people to suggest new types of exercise, many people repeatedly turn to physical activities that they’ve grown comfortable with, and in doing so turn a blind eye on new and potentially more challenging exercises that could take you closer to reaching your fitness goals.

That’s where group exercise classes (like spinning) can provide a lot of help. By accessing direction from an instructor, or the ideas of a group of people, you can discover activities that you may not have considered previously. Additionally, having a group of people around you can help push you to engage in physical activities that you might prefer to avoid due to their difficulty, from push-ups and sit-ups to burpees.

Improve Your Form

You can do a lot of harm by using improper form when carrying out a challenging physical activity, like squats or burpees. And getting hurt while working out can have a steep price: it may prevent you from doing the things you love, like playing with the kids or engaging in sports with your friends.

You can help improve your form, regardless of the type of physical exercise, by participating in group exercise classes. How so? Because an instructor or your classmates will likely identify and help you remedy poor form, thereby reducing your chances of sustaining a painful injury that could make it a lot harder to reach your fitness goals.

Diversify Your Workout

You know what they say: variety is the spice of life. You can apply that lesson to many aspects of your life, from the food you eat to the books you read and the websites you visit. But it has particular value when applied to your physical exercise routine, which can become really stale really fast when you do the same exercises day after day, week after week.

You can help diversify your workout quite a lot by participating in group exercise classes. How so? By engaging in exercise surrounded by a group of your peers, you’ll learn new activities that may never have occurred to you. On top of that, your peers can help you grasp the required form for these new activities, reducing the chances you’ll get hurt performing them. In the end, simply engaging in exercise with others can really help you discover new exercise trends and may play a vital role in getting you closer to your fitness goals.

Push Each Other Forward

Knowing that you could let your classmates down by failing to show up for your group exercise class can keep you from bypassing a workout. But participating in a group exercise class could also help you push yourself a little bit harder and just a little bit further, too.

Imagine this scenario: you’re working out at home on your own. You’ve done fifteen push-ups and would love to hit twenty, but after a long day at work your feel tired and decide that fifteen is fine after all. Now, imagine you’re in a group exercise class instead of home on your own — with your classmates and an instructor looking on, you’ll be far more likely to seek their approval by pushing yourself to complete those five extra reps.

Learn From the Best

There are many physical activities that don’t really require the oversight and direction of a physical trainer or instructor — generally speaking, most of us know how to do a push up, sit up, and other fairly basic exercises. But there are many reasons to consider joining a group exercise class led by a certified trainer who can help you learn new activities and routines.

For one, these new activities can help provide some balance and diversity to a routine, preventing it from become boring. Second, they can help ensure your form is correct, limiting the chance of sustaining an injury. Third, they can push you forward, helping you achieve more than you might on your own and helping you get closer to your fitness goals. Overall, it’s hard to overstate the value of participating in a group exercise class that’s led by a certified physical trainer.

Meet New People

One of the great advantages of participating in group exercise classes is easy to overlook but hard to ignore: it provides you with an opportunity to meet new people. Beyond helping motivate you to try new physical activities and push yourself a little further towards your fitness goals, this could mean making new friends, learning about professional opportunities, or even firing up a hot new romance.

Meeting new people in a group exercise class has many advantages but above all can help draw you to engage in physical activity when you may not have the energy to carry out a workout on your own. Knowing that you’ll have the chance to learn about new people may be just what you need to help motivate yourself to get to that gym.

Have Fun

It’s a straightforward and pretty simple reason for participating in group exercise classes and shouldn’t be overlooked: working out with others is often more fun than engaging in physical activity on your own.

Think of it this way: imagine you’re working out and feel your energy levels starting to decline. If you’re on your own, it may be tough to push yourself ahead to complete the workout you’d envisioned earlier in the day. Now, imagine you’re in a group exercise class and, just as you’re tiring out, someone makes a joke. Within seconds, another person catches on and takes the joke further. All of a sudden the whole class is laughing and having fun. It’s hard to deny that, in this scenario, you might be a lot less likely to up and quit for the day.

Reach for the Top!

Most of us like to think that we’re hard-working individuals capable of motivating ourselves to accomplish great things. And, in general, that may be true. But everyone needs a little support from time to time; a little encouragement to reach further, push harder, and get past obstacles to reach our goals.

That’s essentially one of the primary reasons to join a group exercise class. Without the encouragement of a group of people, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with your workouts, or you may find it hard to complete physical exercise regimens that are truly challenging and capable of helping you reach your fitness goals.

Tap Into Your Competitive Side

By most accounts, competition can be very helpful. Imagine how entertaining your favorite sports league would be if no one recorded wins, losses, and ties. Imagine how entertaining that league would be if only one team won the championship each year. The answer: not very entertaining at all.

And while being the only champion in your workout routine can be nice, it may not be enough to keep you coming back for more. By participating in a group exercise class, you can help tap into that competitive side, even if it’s been a little idle for the past while. As your class instructor pushes you forward, you can use the progress of your classmates to ensure you keep up and tackle challenges that may be harder to reach on your own.

Unlock Endorphins

There are many reasons exercising can help in the struggle against anxiety and depression; for one, it can help one improve how they feel about their physical appearance and mental endurance. But it can also help through the release of endorphins by the brain, a process that’s activated when we engage in relatively intense physical activity, like participating in a group exercise class.

Endorphins are released by the brain when we engage in physical exercise. These endorphins essentially make us feel good; it’s why you tend to be in a better mood towards the end of a workout or in the period following physical exercise. And this process can be helped and enhanced in a group setting, as the group works together to compound the effect of releasing these endorphins by pushing each other to tackle a workout together.

Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

Every new year begins with a flood of new members at the gym. But as time goes by, many of these early recruits fade away, and the gym returns to its steady pace. That’s great for the people who own and work at the gym, which probably charges people membership fees on an annual basis. But it’s not particularly great for those people who shelled out money that they’ll never see again.

You can help avoid wasting your hard-earned cash by participating in group exercise classes. By bringing diversity to your workout routine, gaining the insights of an instructor, and benefiting from the feedback of your class peers, you can ensure you keep going to the gym, thereby getting your money’s worth and moving closer to reaching your unique fitness goals.

DPT, Doctor of Physiotherapy

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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