Science proves you can enjoy more effects of exercise
Have you ever felt that even when you worked out harder, you didn’t feel any better afterward? After all the talk about how exercising should help you balance your stress hormones, how is it possible that you still don’t feel less stressed afterward?
A new study seems to have answered this question. In findings published in October 2017, researchers discovered all of the major benefits of exercising increase greatly when you participate in group exercise.
Workout in a group
No matter what type of exercise you prefer, the fact is you’ll get twice as much out of it when you share the activity with other people. Your workout will boost you far more mentally,physically and emotionally when you do it in a group setting.
In their study, the researchers chose to work with a group of some of the most highly stressed people they could get their hands on: medical students. They separated the students into several groups and had one group of students exercise individually; another batch did a core-strengthening and functional fitness program in a group setting; the last group did not exercise other than by bringing themselves to classes on a bicycle or walking. For three months, researchers tested each participant and had them rate their stress levels during the program.
Those who worked out in a group had 26 percent less stress overall compared to those who worked out individually, or with no more than two other people, who reported no specific decrease in stress – even when they w
orked out twice as long. The group exercisers also experienced significant increases in their physical, emotional and mental quality of life. Those who did not exercise in a group reported only some benefit to their mental quality of life.
The lead researcher on this study, Dr Yorks, advocated for more on-campus, group programs for medical students because, as she explained, “Giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession.”
Other studies show more exciting perks for group exercise
Did you know that that if you surround yourself with people who enjoy exercising, you will naturally begin imitating their good exercise habits? That means the cure for resisting regular workouts can be making friends with people who exercise regularly and joining their routine.
Researchers published a study demonstrating how losing weight can be contagious. The more time that overweight people spent with friends who were in shape, the more weight t
hey were able to lose too.
Positive peer pressure from your workout buddies is one of the most powerful factors to help you stick to your workout plan. In fact, a study indicated that 95 percent of people who began a weight loss program with their friends finished it, and 66 percent of those kept the weight off.
You can find it easier to work out longer when you do it in a group. Today’s news channels also report scientific proof that whenever people work out in groups, they could exercise twice as long as those who worked out alone.
How does group exercise help you stress-proof your daily life?
It’s an unfortunate truth that your muscles and adrenal glands all suffer when you endure stress for a long time because of your daily grind. That also means that your body won’t recover as well or be able to work out as long during times in your life that are exceptionally stressful.
However, group workouts help you counteract some of these side effects of stress to keep you going and relax when you need it most. In a group workout, the added positivity and motivation of the group can help you stay on track through those difficult times. Plus, working out with friends helps you smile, which is more important than most people realize. Even if your smile is fake, the act of smiling lowers your heart rate and brings down your stress levels fast while also triggering a dopamine release in the brain to make you feel happy.
Certified Exercise Physiologist John Ford from the JKF Fitness and Health training center in New York City summarized the effect of group exercise: “All those shouts to do one more, or push to the finish line, plus the high fives and pats on the back for completing sets and accomplishing personal bests create amazing positive feedback loops. Just like with smiling, [this combination] triggers the release of hormones that make you feel good.” Continuing that cycle, Ford explained, “All these things can make sure that you stick with your workouts and wellness routine.”
Beware: lack of supervision can make a workout more stressful
The more dangerous a workout is, the more stressful it is. You are more likely to have a stress-free workout if you avoid doing unbalanced workouts that over-strain any set of muscles, which can be prevented by proper instruction and supervision in a group setting.
Excessive strain on the muscles and joints will lead to injuries sooner or later. When you look at interviews from professional physical therapists who help people recover from all kinds of injuries, they’ll tell you right away where the most risks are in working out. Which types of workouts are the easiest to do the wrong way and cause injury? They mostly fall under the category of weight training.
It’s important to have an instructor or trainer show you the proper form when doing any exercise, but particularly these high-risk ones:
• Shoulders: pull-ups, kettle-bell swings, lat pull-downs
• Back: bent-over rows, Romanian deadlifts, overhead squats with lifts
• Knees: seated leg extensions
If you have an experienced teacher who can watch you, then by all means, include this training in your group workout. Better yet, take a group body pump class where you all watch yourselves in the mirror while supervised by an instructor. Remember, exercising alone is not nearly as fun or beneficial as it would be if you did it with someone else.