It’s early and still dark out. Your bed is warm, your pillow is soft and you don’t have to be at work till 9am. But you slowly crawl out of bed and into your workout clothes anyway because you’re committed to your boot camp class.
Working out in a group provides many benefits. The most important being increased motivation and the commitment you need to stick with it. New research suggests that group exercise unleashes a flood of chemicals in the brain, triggering the same responses that have made collective activities from dancing and laughter to religion itself such enduring aspects of human culture. For some (but not all) people, finding workout buddies could help turn fitness into a pleasant addiction.
Motivation and Commitment
“Individuals are more inclined to come to (a group) session because of social interaction, but also to put forth better effort because of the group dynamic that occurs with others — a positive competition, in a sense,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, in this article in the LA Times.
Friendly Competition and Support
A healthy dose of friendly competition along with a supportive community-like environment encourages you not only to show up, but to give 110%.
Cherilyn Hultquist, assistant professor in the department of health, physical education and sport science at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. “Seeing familiar faces in each class makes it more than a stale exercise environment. It becomes a community with common goals.”
Why not try something new or take several classes at once to keep things interesting? If you prefer one type of class, you’ll still get variety. The instructor(s) will vary the routine every month or two to keep it fresh. If you’re in a running or cycling group, you’re bound to switch up your routes.
Whether you join a workout group or club for motivation, competition or support, you also get the value-added benefit of working out with a professional instructor or leader. With a fitness instructor, you’ll learn proper form, have a complete workout including warm-up and cool-down and are less likely to be injured while working out.