Any kind of exercise can be beneficial but working out in a group may actually give your health an extra boost.
Psychology has taught us that a sense of belonging is a basic human need, similar to our need for shelter and food. Feeling that you are part of something is important when it comes to seeing value in life and dealing with painful emotions. The same concept can be applied to physical activities.
In a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, researchers found that group training reduces stress by 26% and improves the quality of life significantly. Those who worked out individually, on the other hand, experienced no major changes in their stress levels despite their additional effort.
Here are 5 more ways group training can benefit your mental health.
1. Increased Motivation
Group fitness training classes give you a team of motivators and competitors. You create a special bond with several people who share your struggle, and you all fight your way through a session together.
Working out with other people also offers a sense of camaraderie because your fellow gym-goers are there for the same reason. Those same people, later on, turn into your family who would want to see you back every week, creating accountability.
2. Promotes Creativity
Boredom is one of the main reasons why people give up on an exercise routine. Group training settings open up opportunities for more creativity. There is a wide range of exercises you can do with a partner in order to mix things up a bit. You’ll also get more creative when doing assisted or partner resistance exercises.
3. Mood-boosting Endorphins
Compared to solo workouts, group fitness classes have a couple of mental health benefits. One example would be a significant improvement in your mood. Working out releases endorphins, which are often called “feel-good” chemicals because they act as happiness booster and pain reliever, and a group setting can compound that effect even more.
4. Social Connectedness
Group training may involve teamwork, so there’s an additional advantage of increasing social connectedness while reducing hostilities and biases. Most of the time, team workouts often require working toward one major goal (e.g. completing the routine together), which helps people focus more on their similarities instead of their differences. It also improves your individual relationships with those around you.
5. Confidence Boost
A growing body of research has found that regular exercise, especially with a group, helps support a healthier and more positive body image. Whether it’s a result of changing your body physically or simply being proud of finishing a group training class, the effects of creating a workout routine can lead to increased self-satisfaction.
It goes without saying that becoming a part of any community can have a huge impact on your perspective in life. This idea is not only true in work but also in play. While it may feel awkward for some of us to join a class full of people to exercise, it’s worth trying at least once–considering the many health benefits it can provide.