Staying active is really important for us both physically and mentally, but sometimes it can be a really challenge to find the motivation to exercise. Exercising with a friend can really help encourage you. Here are five benefits of working out with a friend (or indeed how you can make new friends) in a group exercise class.
Strength in numbers!
It can be intimating doing anything for the first time and physical activity is no different. Many people feel more self-conscious if they haven’t taken a class or used a piece of gym equipment before. Taking a friend along to a class can be a great way to boost your confidence as you’ll have someone you already know to talk to. And if you get all the moves wrong in class, you’ll have someone to giggle about it with after.
You’ll work harder:
Exercising in a group is likely to increase positive competitiveness, as no one wants to be the weakest link in their class. The Köhler effect supports this theory. Psychologist Otto Köhler asked a group of rowers to take part in challenges where they undertook standing curls with heavy weights. Some did this solo, some in pairs and some in groups of three. When working in threes, the bar was three times as heavy as for when working out alone. When working in pairs, the bar was twice as heavy. The experiment found that people that fared worst when performing the challenge alone gained the most from being part of a group and were able to achieve far longer lift times.
Another study published by the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology further examined the Köhler effect. They conducted a study that asked participants to perform a series of planks alone or with a partner (whose performance was manipulated to always be better than theirs). They found that participants were able to increase their performance by to match their partner and it was found this could be up to 24 percent.
You’re in it together
It can be tempting to skip a class, but you are less likely to do this if you are also letting your friend down. As well as being more accountable, have someone to debrief with after class and you’ll be each other’s supporters, encouraging each other to keep up the good work.
A great way to catch-up
Ever feel like you don’t have enough time? Do you feel you need to find time to work, stay active, meet friends, eat healthily, drink enough water, get enough sleep and be up-to-date with all the latest boxsets just so you have social currency when you're at the water cooler? Yes, we’re exhausted just writing that list! So why not amalgamate your social catchups with a healthy group exercise class? That way you get to see your friends whilst being virtuous and still get home for those all-important 8 hours of shut-eye.
One of the biggest benefits of group exercise, apart from having a qualified teacher to lead you in a fun and challenging session, is the sense of community. If you struggle to find someone that will commit to coming to a class with you, you will likely find a friend in class. Joining a new exercise class is a great way to meet like-minded people and could open up a whole new friendship group.
So, what are you waiting for? Find a class near you today with classfinder’s search tool.