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March 8, 2012 at 12:06 PMComments: 3 Faves: 1

Buddy Up: The Top 5 Benefits of Group Exercise

By Matthew More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Extreme Existence Blog Series

At the end of every week I reflect on my fitness accomplishments, and at the end of every week I make new resolutions for the upcoming week. I promise myself that I will do things like visit the gym, ride my bike, or play a sport. I set my goals, and I get excited for my new, active lifestyle.

Despite my enthusiastic goals, I rarely follow through. Life is often busy, and I have difficulty creating those healthy habits that I had originally promised myself. I start to skip workouts or forget about them. Before I know it, the week is over, and I’m setting new goals, promising to do better the next week. It’s a vicious cycle. How do I create good exercise habits for myself and stick to them?

Most people experience problems like this. They cannot motivate themselves to work out alone. After all, they are only letting themselves down. They can try again next week, all the while never getting that exercise they so crave. So how can we combat this difficulty? Work out together!

In recent years, group exercise programs have grown in popularity. Now, we can find fitness groups around most every corner, offering recreational group activities to everyone. Here are some of the benefits of group exercise:

#1. Increased Endorphins

Studies have shown that working out in groups can give a person a higher release of endorphins than if they work out alone. This allows people to exercise longer, tolerate tougher workouts, and enjoy it more. This “high” can be addictive, helping people to build those healthy habits.

#2. Meeting New People

More and more, we see opportunities to exercise in different social settings. You can take group fitness classes at your local college or gym. Other organizations are designed for the sole purpose of creating a unique social exercise experience. Some night clubs even do this! You can enjoy a night out, meet people, and listen to music, all while doing specific step or dance exercises. People are constantly coming up with innovative new ways to socialize workouts. Activities such as hot yoga and party workouts have recently become quite popular.

You can also join classes or groups at your local gym. The activities include: Pilates, dance, water aerobics, spinning, yoga and much more!

#3. More Motivation

Groups keep you accountable. You come back every time because you feel like you owe it to the other people in your group. Groups also make exercising more fun. They can raise your excitement for an activity and make you enjoy it more, thus making you more likely to continue doing it.

#4. The Fun of Competing

Many people love competition, and many group activities can allow for that competitive release. This could be a sport like basketball or tennis. It could also be applied to other workouts. You could race at the end of your bike ride, or see who can spend more hours at the gym. There are many things you can do to make the workout more interesting, and when you focus on the competition, you forget about the work.

#5. Time with Friends

Exercising is an excuse for you to spend time with your buddies. Make a decision to exercise together, and to do so regularly. You will have more time together and become more fit at the same time. This is also a great way to become closer with your friends. You develop stronger relationships when you learn to work together and help each other to achieve goals.So if you are like me, and you struggle to work out regularly on your own, try working out with a friend or two instead! This way, you can have regular, productive workouts, and enjoy doing it. This way, you can turn exercise into that habit you’ve always wanted.

What about you? Do you struggle to exercise regularly? Have you noticed a difference in exercising with other people?

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3 Comments

  • Great article Matthew! I've noticed that when I go for a run with someone else, I'm more inclined to try going farther/longer than I would go on my own. However, if I'm with someone who rarely runs, I end up stopping when they do.
    So for me, it's probably best to exercise with people at roughly my same "level" of strength/stamina.

  • Thanks for posting! This is something I never knew: "Studies have shown that working out in groups can give a person a higher release of endorphins than if they work out alone. " I bet being able to be social during exercise is what helps! I know the personally, I like working out with other people than alone. It motivates me more!

  • Love this blog...I find myself in the same situation of starting something like walking, biking or on the treadmill and something always comes up to get me off the schedule and then I have to start all over again. Unlike when I have someone that is expecting me to walk and then I really push myself to be ready....

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