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Group exercise vs individual exercise

Finding the motivation to exercise is tough, but maintaining a stable workout routine is even tougher. Working out with a buddy or in a crowd could well be your answer to more exciting exercises that keep you on your toes - quite literally!

In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits of group exercise compared to working out solo. There’s nothing wrong with getting fit by yourself, but perhaps joining in with others who share similar goals to yourself will broaden your sporty horizon!

What is group exercise?

It may seem like a silly question, but group exercise doesn’t just refer to working out in a class led by an instructor. Group exercises are workouts in a group setting but they can also include sports, such as football, hockey or netball. Group exercises bring people together and allow you to be active in the presence of others who are focusing on their fitness and wellbeing. In a nutshell, group workouts are an effective way to get active, lose weight and work towards a healthier lifestyle.

Is group exercise better than individual exercise?

First of all, exercise, no matter how small, is better than no exercise at all. The NHS recommends that adults workout for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activities a week (or if you’re up to it, 75 minutes of intense workouts a week).

That said, the experience of working out amongst others can be very different to being active alone. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that participants who engaged in group exercise experienced a 26% decrease in stress and saw improvement in their mental, physical and emotional health. This suggests that group exercise may have more health benefits for you compared to working out by yourself.

Benefits of group exercise 

Here at LiveWell Dorset, we love supporting people looking to build a healthier lifestyle. We also think that connecting with others who are trying to do the same is a great way to build positive relationships and keep you on track. Below we’ve listed some of the top benefits of group exercise:

 

1. It can be a whole lot more fun

Is your same-old routine getting a little stale? Why not spice things up a little by attending an exercise class? Even just the change in scenery can work wonders, especially if you usually do at home workouts. Group workouts can really make a workout that you’d normally dread much more bearable. For example, squatting in your living room could become boring, but in a group, you’ll be more distracted and you can even make workouts a competition to step it up!

2. It keeps you motivated

There’s a certain type of energy that you’ll find within a group compared to being alone. Others can offer you encouragement as you try your best and you’ll also feel encouraged to keep up, pushing yourself to your limits (safely!). 

Moreover, being part of a group means that you’ll have more accountability, which could be the motivation you need to get your workouts in. Whilst we’re sure that you’ll enjoy your group exercises anyway, we understand that getting ready and out of the door is the hardest part. When you’re working out alone, it can be oh-so tempting to skip your routine or not give it all you’ve got. In contrast, a group would be expecting you to turn up (especially if it’s something you signed up for) so you’ll be less likely to “give it a miss”.

3. You can learn new exercises

By joining a group, you’ll be exposed to a whole new world of workouts; sure there'll be some that you’ve tried out before, but there’s sure to be something new that you end up loving!

There may be workouts which you’d heard about but were reluctant to try just in case you did it wrong. Whilst there’s no shame in learning through mistakes, when it comes to exercise, it can be safer to be taught certain routines to prevent you from injuring yourself. Most groups will have an instructor on hand to help you out if you need it so you can rest assured you’ll be learning new exercises safely and performing them effectively.

4. Your workouts will be more structured 

If you’ve tried exercising solo before, you may have asked yourself “What now?” or come at a loose end when thinking about your next exercise. A huge benefit of group workouts is that the routine will have been pre-planned for you - saving you the time and hassle! 

So say goodbye to Googling “good leg workouts” and let your group guide you. 

5. You’ll meet lots of like minded people 

Group exercise is a social activity, so whether you’re feeling lonely or you’re looking to meet new people, group exercise is a great way to find others with common goals and interests.

6. You can improve your communication and team working skills

Let’s look outside of the health benefits for a second. When you regularly engage in group activities, you can develop your communication and teamwork skills. For example, if you join a football team, you’ll need to learn how to work collaboratively in order to give your team the best shot at scoring. If you’re a part of a team, it’s essential for you to communicate effectively, trust others and make compromises for the good of the group, not just yourself. Even in classes such as dance, you’ll need to depend on a partner or others to execute a routine smoothly (and others will depend on you too!).

7. It boosts your confidence

Whether you increase your confidence around others and come out of your shell or you improve your current fitness abilities, group workouts can leave you feeling proud - and so you should be! Each time you complete a class or another type of workout, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and will have more confidence to continue your journey to being more active.

8. There’s something for everyone to enjoy

From lively Zumba lessons to kicking a ball around with your friends, there’s so many types of exercises out there for you to explore! When you find an activity that you really love, exercise won’t be such a chore - it will become something you look forward to every week.

It’s also worth noting that you can find groups that are designed for specific age groups and abilities. Some groups will invite people of all abilities but if you’re looking for a group that helps beginners, you can certainly find one!

9. You’ll improve your physical health and endurance

Okay, this is an obvious one and you’ll reap the same benefits from exercising alone; but the fact still remains, group workouts will help you to build up your strength and endurance so you can keep getting fitter. 

Final thoughts

So now you know the benefits of group exercise, you’ll hopefully be inspired to challenge yourself to take part in a new activity!

You don’t need to do group workouts all the time, just whenever suits you. For example, you might decide to exercise with others once or twice a week. Group exercise doesn’t have to be costly either. For a start, they’ll be cheaper than personal trainers (which many of us don’t have the luxury to afford). 

Secondly, not all classes and clubs will come with a price tag either. There are plenty of group activities on offer all over the UK which are free to all to enjoy. If you’re looking for an activity near you, take a look at our Activity Finder and discover what’s in your area. This handy tool will also let you know if activities are free or paid, so you can pick the option that suits you.

Something that’s holding you back might be the anxiety around venturing out to an unfamiliar setting surrounded by strangers. This is a totally normal and valid feeling, but it’s important to understand that starting is the hardest part, once you’re there, you’ll soon get into the swing of things and there will be others feeling the same as you. That said, if you’re particularly nervous, why not encourage a friend or family member to join you? This way you’ll have at least one familiar face in the room and your confidence will soon grow (plus you’ll be helping others improve their health too!).

Looking to get active?

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you simply wish to exercise more for a healthier future, we’re here to help. We offer advice and support to people living in Dorset, all you need to to register with us today to start your journey. 

If you’d like any more information about our services and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!

 

Georgina

"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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