Why Group Exercise is Healthier Than Individual Exercise

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Photo Credit: https://www.ymcala.org/programs/health-wellness/group-exercise

Sophia Robertson, Digital Media Editor/Contributing Writer, Greensboro NC

Classes at local gyms, running with a group of friends, or playing a team sport are all forms of
group exercise. Group exercise accomplishes the same thing as individual exercise, which
includes lifting weights at home or going on a run around your neighborhood, but there are so
many additional benefits. Exercising with a group of people, whether it is friends or people you
see at the gym every few weeks, costs money in most cases, while individual exercise usually is
less expensive because it can be done at home. Despite this, group exercise benefits typically
outweigh the cost, and here’s why.

If you are exercising, it’s because you want to be fit and maybe even lose weight. Particularly
those with a competitive personality may work harder when working alongside other people.
Most people want to be at the same level or an even higher level than those around them, and no
one wants to be the person lying on the ground after five minutes of working out. People should
not go above their level because an injury may be sustained, but a group setting surely pushes
people to their limit, whether it is for a competitive advantage or simply to avoid embarrassment.
Group exercise also provides a social outlet. Gyms are great places to meet people who you
already have something in common with. In other situations, group exercise can solidify
relationships that you already have. If you enjoy running, maybe two other of your friends like it
too and want to run with you. This can make the run more enjoyable and can strengthen your
friendships. Friends provide motivation that can also help you achieve your fitness goals, while
with individual exercise, you must be the one to hold yourself accountable.

According to a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, mental, physical,
and emotional health increased with only 30 minutes of group exercise per week for 12
consecutive weeks. The average mean monthly survey score (participants were surveyed about
their health at the beginning and throughout the study) for mental health improved by 12.6%,
24.8% for physical health, and 26% for emotional. Stress levels were also reported to decrease
by 26.2% from the start of study to the end. For the participants who took part in individual
fitness activities, there were no significant changes except in mental health, which improved by
an average of 11%.

Group exercise, with the exception of COVID-19 times, is much safer than individual exercise.
In normal times, group exercise allows individuals to work out in a safe manner because at least
one person has experience. The leader of the group is normally trained and has a solid
understanding of the dos and don’ts of workouts. Additionally, there are other people to call for
help in the case of an emergency.

For people who obsess over working out, such as people recovering with eating disorders, group
exercise is a great way to avoid this torment. At home, you can go on and on doing squats and
other exercises because there is no time limit. I’ll just do a few more. I’ll only go for ten more
minutes. Where does it end? For those who are obsessive about exercising and in many cases do
not exercise for fun, individual workout sessions can lead to a great amount of harm. On the
other hand, group classes only last an allotted amount of time, and in most cases this is not for
more than an hour. This prevents anorexics, for example, from forcing themselves to exercise for
an unhealthy amount of time.

Overall, group exercise encourages you to push yourself more while keeping things safe. It also
provides a great socializing opportunity that you wouldn’t get if you were working out by
yourself. The positive mental and physical effects of group exercise have proven to be immense,
so next time you pass that gym on your way home, stop by and see what your options are.
Science proves that you aren’t likely to regret it.