MOVEMENT: Why you should try group exercise

A healthy heart. Strong muscles. Stability. Mobility. All of these are benefits you’re likely seeing from your workout routine. But if you’re hitting the gym alone, you might be holding yourself back. Sometimes it takes a team to reach your full potential.

From pro athletes to CEOs, high-level performers often don’t reach success alone. And even if you’re not on the field or battling it out in the boardroom, you can create a team to build camaraderie and help push you toward your goals. Here are three ways group exercise can help you.

1. Peer accountability

Hitting snooze instead of the gym? An accountability partner can do wonders for you. If you’re already committed to a class time, a friend, or even a coach, you’ve got more skin in the game. So now canceling isn’t just about letting yourself down, it’s also about not being there for others. This might be just the external motivation you need to jump out of bed.

2. Guidance and support

No shrinking wallflowers here. While group fitness classes may feel intimidating at first, you’ll quickly realize that everyone is there for a common purpose — self-improvement. Not only will you get that support from your peers, you’ve also got a coach cheering you on, correcting your form, and pushing you beyond what you thought was possible.

3. Better quality of life

Aside from accountability and enjoyment, group training environments are also good for your overall health. Exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may even help with improving sleep, focus, confidence, and self-efficacy. The result of all of these benefits: a better, healthier life.

Science snapshot

According to a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, group exercise participants saw mental, physical, and emotional improvements in half the time compared to individual fitness participants as well as a reduction in perceived stress levels.