Do you work out alone, with a partner or in a group? While there is a lot to be said for running solo or spending quality time with just your yoga mat, there are a number of recent studies that show that you might actually have better success in some kind of group fitness program.
For example, 95% of people who start a weight-loss program with a friend will successfully complete the program. Additionally, 42% of those people continue to keep the weight off for an extended period of time. This could be due to the fact that the healthy actions of some members rub off on the rest of the group. In fact, study published in the Journal of Obesity discovered that overweight people tend to lose more weight when they are with their more health-conscious friends. Spending more time together with healthy friends helps them lose more weight.
Exercising with a friend helps you succeed in other ways, too. You don’t want to let your friends down. This means commitment, consistency, motivation and inspiration increase when you work out with a partner.
Training together creates the Köhler Effect. Since no one wants to be the “weakest link” in their group, we continue to push ourselves further than when working out alone.
The Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology did a study to determine how strong this affect. They reported that when working out with a partner, participants improved their plank form and duration time by 24%.
Part of the reason is the friendly competition that happens in a group setting. When you are involved in fitness activities with someone else, you are naturally going to push yourself a little bit harder than you would on your own.
Another beautiful benefit from working out in a group or with a friend is camaraderie. Believe it or not, the dynamics of group physical fitness releases endorphins outside of just working out. This makes you feel better and more energized at the end of your workout.
On top of all of that, you tend to enjoy exercise more with a friend than just going it alone. This means you are more likely to stick with a fitness program when you are committed to someone else than you are when exercising all alone.
Improved Mental Health
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association conducted a study on medical students and their exercise habits. Researchers discovered that participants who engaged in regular group exercise showed significantly less stress AND an increase in physical, mental and emotional well-being.
These benefits aren’t limited to working out together in the same physical location. In fact, having a virtual workout partner was just as effective as working out together in person, according to studies by Michigan State University and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.