35% of Australian females aged 15 years or older live a sedentary lifestyle. Considering that sedentary lifestyles are associated with a whole slew of health disorders and diseases, that’s a pretty alarming statistic.
Yet for many women, finding a solo workout they enjoy– and can stick to– is a serious fete. That’s why so many ladies are turning to group workouts instead.
You may be wondering: aren’t group fitness classes so 1980s? Due to some pretty exciting research, team workouts are making a comeback. That’s right, science supports the benefits of joining that instructor-led group pilates class at your gym that you’ve been putting off.
Want to make the most of your workout all while enjoying exercise more than ever before? Then you need to keep reading and learn about the science behind group workouts.
The Science Behind the Benefits of Group Workouts
So, you’re convinced that solo workouts are the best thing since sliced wheat bread. Yet you aren’t seeing the gains you’ve been dreaming about. It’s time you dipped your toes into the world of group workouts.
Still not impressed? Then let us pique your interest with these 5 incredible benefits of group workouts.
1. Stay Committed
Ever heard of the observer effect? Also known as the Hawthorne effect in psychology, this theory attempts to explain why we’re more productive when someone else is watching. Our productivity also increases with the amount of encouragement we receive.
Apply the Hawthorne effect to an instructor-led group workout, and you’ll see why they’re so effective. Not only are you getting the observation aspect from fellow group exercisers, but you’re also getting motivation from your instructor. All this means you’re more likely to work hard– and stick to it.
Consider this: a 1999 study looked at the effects of group recruitment to fitness programs on weight loss program commitment. Unsurprisingly, 95% of those recruited to the program in groups of 3 or more stuck with it. Even cooler, 66% of that group also saw weight loss benefits.
2. Eliminate Plateaus
If you’ve spent more than a few months working out before, you’re all too familiar with every fitness enthusiast’s worst nightmare– the plateau. A “plateau” occurs when you’re working out as hard and as often as usual, but aren’t seeing gains.
One reason plateaus happen is that you aren’t diversifying your fitness routine enough. Devoted to solo routines? Then that might be a reason you’re experiencing a plateau.
Think about it: there are only so many exercises you can do on your own. Even if you don’t want to join a full-on group fitness class, try working out with a partner when you feel a plateau coming on.
From partner-assisted pull-ups to medicine ball toss sit-ups, a group (or partner) workout can help you mix things up and eliminate plateaus for good.
3. Boost Endorphins
Elle Woods may have made it quote-worthy, but science has supported the correlation between exercise and endorphins for decades. What Elle Woods didn’t know, though, is that group workouts promote more endorphin release than solo ones.
It’s not just exercise that boosts your endorphin levels. Something as simple as sharing a smile with another person can give you a much-needed uplift in mood. It should be no wonder, then, that scientists have found a positive correlation between group exercise and feeling of post-workout calm.
Even more interestingly, endorphins may be responsible for why working out with friends or strangers makes exercise more enjoyable. So, if you’re tired of dreading the gym, it’s about time you joined a local group workout class.
4. Make Friends
Hate working out because you’re too busy socializing? Then you’re going to love this benefit of group workouts.
That’s right: after working hard and sweating it out with your workout class, you’ll feel a bond with your fellow group workout-ers.
This fact becomes even more apparent when you join a workout group of individuals who are fitter than you.
For example, a surprising factor in weight loss is the type of people with which you surround yourself. Scientists are beginning to realize that surrounding yourself with people who are also in the midst of weight loss is less beneficial than working out with groups of people who are fitter than you.
5. Go Harder
Have a competitive streak? Then you already know why group workouts have you pushing yourself harder and for longer than you would alone. Here’s what we’re talking about: a little positive competition between yourself and the other people in your workout class can inspire you to do more than you ever thought you could.
If you want to improve your performance more, choose a group workout with people who are fitter than you. Why? The Kohler Effect, which suggests that no one wants to be the straggler of the group, will have you pushing yourself harder than ever to keep up with those around you.
In fact, a 2012 study at Kansas State University showed a 200% increase in exercise time and intensity for people who work out with a group they perceived as fitter than them. If you’re still convinced that partner workouts can give you the same effects, consider this: the group workout participants boosted workout length and intensity 40% more than partner workouts.
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