14 Group Exercise Benefits

Kayla Newnam

Are you guilty of saying you're going to do a morning workout, but end up snoozing your alarm until it's time for work? Do you then promise yourself you’ll exercise after work, only to find yourself scrolling through Netflix? You're not alone -- this is where group exercise can help!

We all need some inspiration to find consistency in our daily exercise routines. Group exercise has incredible benefits when it comes to accountability, athletic performance, and all-around joy.

 

What is group exercise?

Group exercise is offered through a variety of classes and training styles. The one thing that remains constant among all group exercises is multiple people participating at the same time. These classes vary in price and can be offered at gyms, recreation centers, local studios, online, or even at a local park.

What are the benefits of group exercise? 

There are many benefits to working out in a group setting. We’ve personally met some of our best friends through participating in a local group fitness class. It’s also been a great experience throughout the pandemic to have online group exercise programs. There’s something special about showing up at 6 in the morning or evening to work out with friends that are all focused on improving their health and wellness.

1. Social Activity

As an adult or someone new to an area, it can be hard making friends and finding common ground through social activities. There can be many mental benefits to group exercise, engaging in social activities is one that can lead to improved mental health. Group exercise is a great way to have a good workout and interact with new people daily.

2. Improving Communication Skills

Part of teamwork is communicating with your teammates. This is really important for strength training and partner drills that are high intensity. You will find yourself teaming up with your partner and letting them know what your weaknesses and strengths are to successfully complete workouts. You will also improve communication skills with your new group fitness friends by learning what they respond best to when it comes to motivation.

3. Working on Teamwork Skills

Group fitness classes often have partner drills or small groups within the class do certain exercises. You may be tired but when your team is depending on you, you will go the extra mile and finish strong. There’s also a great sense of camaraderie, as everyone cheers one another on to complete the workout.

4. Stress Relief

You can’t beat a group kickboxing class after a stressful day. There’s a study published in the American Osteopathic Association journal that showed a 26% decrease in stress levels over 12 weeks for those who participated in a functional fitness class at least once a week for 30 minutes. There was no difference in stress levels for those that completed their workout of choice alone. So grab a few friends and go destress together!

5. Boosted Motivation

There’s nothing like attending a cycling class and watching the person in front of you continue to push through the pedals when you want to slow down. Motivation comes and goes. Continuously surrounding yourself with individuals who are also moving their bodies to improve their health helps to give you that extra push when you are in moments of depleted motivation.


6. More Accountability

Have you ever asked yourself why you didn't show up to class on Friday? If not, don’t worry because your instructor will ask the next time you show up to class. This allows us to experience a new level of accountability when attending group fitness classes. Also, if you pay for a class, this is an extra dose of accountability. You pay as a commitment to yourself.

7. More Effective Workouts

You likely have a busy schedule and struggle to find a spot for long workout sessions. Many group instructors limit their classes to under 60 minutes and offer workouts at all times of the day. Having someone watch your form helps to prevent injury and ensure you are using the correct muscles during a workout. Although it can be intimidating to have someone watch you work out, they are not judging you Trust us!

8. Workout Variety

One great thing about working out in a group exercise setting led by a personal trainer is that the workouts often vary day-to-day. The personal trainer or instructor will have a plan mapped out for you to follow over the course of a specific time. Although repeated movements are beneficial for building a specific muscle group, variety within a week is just as important. Moving your body in different ways keeps your joints mobile, your muscles active and can improve cardiovascular health.

9. More Entertaining Workouts

If you are tired of trying to figure out which dumbbells to use at the gym alone, this is a great opportunity to try out a new entertaining workout. Do you feel like trying a class that revolves around dancing, lifting weights, pilates, barre, running, kickboxing, yoga, kettlebells, Bootcamp? There are so many different types of workouts and the great part is… You don’t have to do it alone with group exercise!

10. Structured Sessions

Although the group classes are often entertaining and vary, there’s also structure to what you are doing. You don’t have to worry about adding in something or if your workout will run past the allocated time you set aside. It’s quite nice to be able to walk in, high-five your friends, do the prescribed workout, and go home happy!

11. Healthy Competition

During group exercise classes, you will find healthy competition. You may be in a group fitness class that focuses on strength, you may only think you can lift 100 pounds but your teammates encourage you to push it by 5 or 10 pounds. It could also be running a mile with your local running club at a faster pace than previously. This new achievement in addition to working out will definitely lead to the release of endorphins and newfound confidence.

12. Enforces Proper Form

You will have an instructor to guide you and always enforce proper form during a group exercise. There are also going to be people of different ages and fitness levels in the class. You may find someone in class that has been working out for 10 years, this person can also provide additional support if needed. People in class will often help you get set up and make sure that you are prepared for the workout with the right equipment.

13. Affordability

If you are looking for a great exercise experience, without a huge price tag, group fitness classes are a great option. Pricing varies for different instructors and types of classes. The best thing to do is create a budget for your fitness regimen and then try out multiple classes before committing to one. There are also certain programs and gyms that offer various classes and options.

14. Sense of Community

Whether you are trying to lose weight or build healthy habits, your group exercise class will provide the sense of community needed to reach your goals. They will check on you when you aren’t showing up to classes, lend a hand when setting up for class, and likely celebrate your birthday with you. Group fitness classes may be just what you need to make the progress you’ve been seeking.

 

Are group workouts good for beginners?

Group workouts are great for beginners. As we talked about earlier, you have someone there that can help you with your form and a team to cheer you on. There are set times that classes are available and some require you to sign up ahead of time and reserve your spot. We recommend trying out multiple classes and seeing which one is the best fit for you.

 

Are there any downsides to group exercise?

There aren’t many downsides to group exercise. One thing to consider is that classes are often limited and offered at specific times, this can be used at your advantage. However, if your schedule often changes, it’s important to find a group exercise program that allows you to reschedule your class and offers many times throughout the day when you are sure you can attend.

 

How can I get started with group exercise?

Simply google search, go to your local gym, or ask a friend for a group class in yoga, boxing, pilates, and more!

Sign up for group exercise classes

You can sign up for classes through their website or on websites like ClassPass. ClassPass is a great option if you are looking to try out various classes until you are ready to commit to one place. Most places also offer a trial or introductory class so you can experience the group exercise atmosphere and get to know the instructors.

Join local groups

If you have a Facebook, you can search local groups within your community and ask what places people would recommend. We also recommend searching within the local group pages to see what has been offered in the past. If you quickly google fitness classes in your local area, you may also find boot camps or workouts in your local park that is even donation-based.

Round up your friends

It’s always great to bring a friend with you for your first class if possible. You can also purchase class passes together and make sure you both are attending the group exercise classes. You can also find a workout online and meet up with friends to exercise. Hello, accountability!

Explore your nearby gyms for group exercise programs

One of the easiest ways to get started with group exercise classes is to search for your nearby gym and see if they offer any group programs. Don’t hesitate to explain that you are new to the group fitness arena and looking to experience the benefits of it. This is a great way to be introduced to the gym staff and the instructors of the classes.

 

The Bottom Line

We really want to encourage you to take advantage of all the benefits that group exercise classes have to offer. Whether you are in a small town or a big city, worked out for ten years or never before, there’s a group fitness class and community waiting for you. So, go ahead and do a google search of local classes near you and get signed up for your first class today.

 

 

  1. Dayna M. Yorks, Christopher A. Frothingham, Mark D. Schuenke. Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2017; 117 (11): e17 DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.140
  2. McEwan, Desmond; Bennett, Erica V.; Rhodes, Ryan E. (2020). Collaboration behaviors within interactive exercise groups. Psychology & Health, (), 1–22.doi:10.1080/08870446.2020.1836177