The Science Behind Group Exercise: 5 Reasons Why It Works

05 Jul Posted by boldr in

We’ve all been there: the pull of the couch, the nagging feeling that you really should workout instead of nestling back into the cushions and making like a sloth for the remainder of your day. What to do? 

A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviours of those around them. Want to be fit? Well, try working out with others!

If you ask people if they like working out in a group, 1/3 will say yes, 1/3 will say no and 1/3 will be indifferent. But does science give us a more truthful response? It sure does and the statistics are overwhelming. Humans are a tribal species who are used to collective activity and shared experience. Working out in a group triggers a flood of chemicals in our brains, in fact the endorphins that are released are dramatically higher than working out solo.

Let’s unpack some of the reasons why group exercise is so effective:

  1. The PUSH: No one wants to be the weakest link or the one that stops mid-way through. If you see those around you exerting themselves or finishing a set, it will inspire you not to give up either. 
  2. The MOTIVATION: A study showed that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76% completion rate for those who tackled the program alone. The friend group was also 42% more likely to maintain their weight loss.
  3. The COMPETITIVE streak: do you have it? Many of us do. Research has shown that working out with someone you perceive to be more fit than you increases your workout time and intensity by 200%. 
  4. The ENJOYMENT factor: Studies show that those that workout with a friend, spouse or coworker enjoy the experience and were happier than when doing it alone. 
  5. The FRIENDSHIP: finding common ground when working towards a mutual goal is one of the best things about working out in a group. One of my favourite #boldr moments was realizing that two of our clients had become friends while working out together on opposite ends of the country! You can bet that camaraderie kept them going even when they didn’t want to because they knew their fitness buddy was counting on them.

It was this theory on group fitness that inspired us to create boldr: a personal trainer and up to 6 participants in a small group. Working out with others makes you more effective and gives you a happiness boost as well. Fun + Fitness? It’s what we’re all about. See you soon!