Group workouts have revolutionized the fitness industry in a number of ways. Not only is exercise great for physical health, but it also has significant positive impacts on mental health. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and decrease symptoms for those who suffer with certain mental disorders such as anxiety and depression – not to mention the endless other benefits that are associated with exercise such as weight control, managing blood sugar and insulin levels and improving your cognitive skills so they remain sharp as you grow older. You would not think it could get better than this! However, group workouts have been shown to yield even better mental health results in conjunction with their physical benefits.
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association published a study in 2017 which highlighted the increased mental health benefits of group workouts. The study was conducted over a period of 12 weeks and included 69 participants. The participants were split into groups with 25 partaking in group workouts, 29 in ‘health enhancement groups’ which consisted of solo workouts or up to two partners, and three who did not partake in any exercise. Every four weeks the participants completed a survey which assessed their physical, mental and emotional states. By analysing these results, researchers were able to conclude that those that participated in regular group workouts reported a much more significant reduction in stress while physical, emotional and mental levels were much higher compared to the participants in the other groups.
Due to the increasing popularity of group workouts, gyms, boutique studios and coaches everywhere are adopting the trend. You can find DVDs, live workouts and plans that are all focused on group workouts. This huge appeal of group workouts has driven sales within the fitness industry, which already had been doing well. Group workouts generally increase commitment and encourage those who attend to bring a friend, therefore expanding its popularity. Group workouts provide more motivation compared to those that workout alone. Not only does the coach keep everyone motivated, but everyone in the group motivates each other; people tend to push themselves harder to show their fitness levels when in a group setting and hold each other accountable for their progress. To illustrate this, a study conducted by the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology asked participants to perform a plank, both alone and with a workout partner. Working out with a partner proved to show increased motivation levels and participants were able to increase their plank hold time by 24%! Much of this increased desire to push harder when in a group setting is attributed to a phenomenon referred to as the Kohler effect; the Kohler effect occurs in many group settings, in which people push harder than they would compared to if they were alone, as they do not want to stand out as being the ‘weakest link’.
Group workouts have revolutionized the fitness industry more so than single gym-goers. Les Mills states that those that attend group workouts are 26% less likely to cancel a group workout than a gym-only member; in fact, 35% of group workout participants remain loyal, compared to 29% of gym-only members. Group workouts help build a community and allow members to meet new people, offering a much more social aspect as opposed to just attending the gym and appealing to those of all ages and fitness levels. Gyms or specialised coaching services can sometimes be overwhelming for people who either do not have any fitness skills or perhaps are overweight or shy. Group workouts offer a more welcoming setting and generally advertise them as being accepting of those of all fitness levels, shapes and ages.
One of the biggest obstacles for those wanting to get in shape, but cannot, is money! Group workouts offer a much more affordable means of getting exercise and achieving fitness goals. Group workouts provide guidance on proper form and demonstrate how certain exercises should be performed to avoid injury – similar to the advice and information you would receive should you pay for a one-on-one personal training session, but without the hefty price tag! Many people who attend the gym alone often do not have a clue of where to start or how to maintain a proper, structured workout. Group workouts offer structured and diverse workouts which provide members with a boost in confidence and the ability in performing these exercises as opposed to had they done them alone.
Not only are group workouts great for all of the reasons mentioned above, but best of all, they are fun! Many people avoid exercise as it seems like a chore, but these kinds of workouts help keep members motivated and are more likely to keep participants coming back and sticking to their goals, rather than giving up. A group workout usually includes an exhilarating atmosphere with good music and lots of high energy from those that are participating. This helps make exercising more achievable and down to earth and adds to the social setting that attracts many people, making them successful and sustainable.
In conclusion, group workouts have revolutionized the fitness industry not only for those that attend these workouts but also for gym owners and coaches. Increased mental, emotional and physical levels combined with boosted confidence and motivation are just some of the reasons group workouts are popular. Group workouts offer a social setting that attracts people of all kinds of fitness backgrounds and retains them, more so than single gym-goers. Gyms, boutique studios and coaches are all witness to the benefits of group workouts and the hugely positive impact they have had on the fitness industry.