It’s an overworked line, but we all know that exercise is good for us, right? Whether it’s walking or swimming, hitting the gym or yoga, the benefits of getting out and at it are manifold.
But what about who we exercise with? Does it have an impact on the quality of exercise, the weight we lose, and for how long we can maintain fitness? There are many possibilities when it comes to group training, says Paris Little, Head Coach at Odin Performance, but “you shouldn’t just train with a group for the sake of it,” he says.
“It’s important to make sure your goals line up with the group you train with,” he continued, stressing the significance of structure to avoid injury and guarantee results.
That said, there are some excellent reasons you should start boot camp, get outside for that lunchtime run with your colleagues, or revive Sunday morning yoga class with the neighbour. Here are three of them:
Monkey see, monkey do
Little says the biggest advantage to group exercise is that you’re likely to increase the intensity of your work out when part of a collective. It’s about rousing excitement and motivation, and by watching others push themselves, you’ll be more compelled to endure a challenging workout. “CrossFit classes, yoga classes and even boot camps all have this in common,” says Little. “The energy and excitement that comes from seeing others perform is undoubtedly inspiring, so if it is motivation you lack, training in a group is a good idea.”
Solitary exercise can be improved by working in a group
Runners are often seen pounding the pavement alone, with only an iPod for company, but Little says that exercise like this can be improved by undertaking it with a group or partner. “You’ll learn more about running, and push yourself far further if done with a group,” he confirms. With exercises like gymnastics or weights, there are also endless amounts of challenging progressions that can be done with a partner within a group setting.
Furthermore, learning in exercise occurs when you watch more capable members of a group perform certain movements or processes. If you’re a visual learner, then this is something you should take advantage of when training in a group. “Teaching movement and exercise is not reserved for the coaches or trainers by any means,” Little says.
Together = forever (or at least more often)
Group exercise is also likely to lead to consistency and repetition, and it’s regular movement and training that deliver the long-term benefits for your body, says Little. “It is, of course, the number one way to improve your health,” he says. Regularity also improves your ability to learn and adopt new skills, and just like exercise, it’s an ability that can be learned. “If you are regularly picking up on new movements you are far more likely to be able to pick up other skills or variations when needed, say in your next yoga or group training class for instance,” Little concluded.