Why group exercises work

Group exercise as fitness social networking

Gulf News

We must have been all of three years old when we started exercising in a group. Surprised? Think about it. All those games and physical education exercises and drills we did at school are nothing but a form of group exercise. Humans are by nature social creatures, which is why most people take to group exercises like duck to water. Exercising in a group has been around for generations. Some people generally find it difficult to exercise or train by themselves as they feel much happier and are more comfortable in a group environment where everyone has like-minded goals. The energy and team effort to push and encourage each other is also a motivational factor, and the idea of everyone starting a group exercise session and then finishing it together brings with it an overwhelming sense of achievement.

Benefits of group exercise

Social interaction, connection and engagement through group exercise acts as a great character building exercise as the benchmarks are usually set by people who are fitter or stronger than you. This forces one to push beyond one’s accepted limits and abilities.

Exercising with like-minded individuals can lead to life changing relationships. Additionally working in a group ensures members provide support to each other and are also accountable to each other. It also lends structure and a sense of play to exercise. The biggest benefit is that of being able to tune out the day-to-day stresses relating to work or otherwise and just unwinding in a healthful manner in the company of friends.

FAQs regarding group exercise

No individual attention.

One of the biggest worries people have with group exercise is that they will not get the required attention of the instructor as it is divided between so many people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instructors in today’s group exercise world are trained to coach classes comprising a large number of people. Training a group is almost like an art form, as one has to cater to the physical abilities of a range of people – those who are beginners and those who have been exercising for a few years.

In all my years as a group exercise instructor, I have never experienced a divide between the instructor and a member from lack of communication or connection. We have always maintained safety and had fun while exercising.

Technique versus numbers?

Will technique get sacrificed in the pursuit of attracting more students? Again, ‘No!’ Group exercises usually start with a 15-minutes or express induction classes that focus purely on technique. This is one way to keep group classes safe and user-friendly.

Additionally, instructors of these group classes are themselves trained by world-class assessors to perfect their own technique. A technique test that meets global standard has to be passed before an instructor can teach group classes. This is why it is important to train individually or as a part of a group with qualified fitness experts.

How big can a class get?

Funnily enough, there is NO number big enough not to have group exercise classes. Qualified trainers have trained up to 7,000 people at a time – the Guinness Book of Records I think stands at 9’000 plus.

But when not chasing Guinness records, most fitness clubs can hold up to 60 to 80 people in a class. The biggest class I have personally taught had 3,000 people and it was a fun and stimulating experience.

Support or rivalry?

It’s a great idea for friends to be exercising together but a healthy rivalry is always going to occur no matter what. For example, two friends who have decided to enter a group training session will have personal fitness standards but will try to do better than each other. However, they will also share a camaraderie that ensures that they support and help each other improve their own performance.

Can I vary my workout in a group? Workout

Yes. Try different group exercises that cater to different tastes and varying fitness goals. Make it a point to try out the group exercise classes for aerobics, kickboxing, cycling, running and even boot camps. This ensures boredom is kept at bay and your body is on its toes, thus resulting in better fitness results.