Group fitness has taken off in recent years as a preferred way of exercise for many. Finding the motivation to get moving can sometimes be difficult so it’s no wonder exercising together is such a popular option for many Australians.

If you’re trying to convince friends or family to join a group exercise the findings from a new study may be the extra push they need. Researchers from the American Osteopathic Association found that those who workout in groups have lower stress and improved quality of life.

Key findings

The study was conducted on medical students, a group known for being highly stressed and reporting a low quality of life. They were either part of the individual or group exercise groups and completed surveys every four weeks for twelve weeks.

At the end of twelve weeks the researchers noted some pretty compelling evidence for the benefit of group exercise. The key findings included:

  • Group exercise participants:
    • Showed significant in quality of life measures:
      • 12.6% increase in mental measures.
      • 24.8% increase in physical measures
      • 26% increase in emotional measures.
    • Reported a 26.2% reduction in stress levels.
  • Individual fitness participants:
    • Worked out an average of twice as long.
    • Saw an 11% increase in mental quality of life measures.
    • Showed no significant changes in mental or physical measures.

The findings suggest that group fitness is far more beneficial to quality of life (mental, physical and emotional) than individual exercise. “The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something different, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercise alone,” said Dyana Yorks, lead researcher.

Other benefits of group fitness

If that alone isn’t enough to convince your friends to lace up the joggers with you, here are some other great benefits of group exercise.

1. Accountability

Skipping your exercise plans is a lot easier when it’s just yourself you have to bail on. Exercising in a group, or at least with one other person, makes it difficult to cancel last minute. Accountability is a great motivator and not wanting to let someone else down may be the push you need to get regular exercise.

2. Encouragement

Encouragement from an instructor or your workout buddy can help you stay on track.

3. Scheduled classes

Scheduled classes may be another great draw card for group fitness, especially for the time poor (which let’s face it, is everyone). Knowing you only have to commit to the 30 minute class or workout makes scheduling time easier and making excuses harder.

4. Fun

Whether it’s just a quick weekend walk or a heavy-duty bootcamp class, it’s definitely more fun to workout together. One of the most common reasons for giving up on exercise is boredom. Not everyone can run on a treadmill for an extended period of time and enjoy it. But working out with friends is a different story. It’s a chance to combine socialising and exercise for optimal mental, physical and emotional benefits.