There’s overwhelming evidence that being physically active provides health benefits and is essential to living long into old age. But, is it better to exercise alone or with other people? According to a study on older Japanese adults, increased frequency of exercise with others has important health benefits regardless of the total frequency of exercise and can be attributed to the social component of group exercises. But there are other benefits, too. Here is our list of main health benefits when exercising with other people.
1. Social interaction improves your mental and emotional wellbeing
Group exercise classes allow you to meet like-minded people, make new friends, and foster a sense of community. Studies show that individuals with strong social connections to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, and have fewer mental health problems than people who aren’t well connected.
2. Long-term health benefits through commitment and consistency
Because working out with a friend or partner can make exercise more fun, it increases your chances of sticking to it. Regular exercise has been shown to result in a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, various forms of cancer, including breast cancer in women and bowel cancer, improving your mood, and extending your life expectancy. The social interaction from working out in a group helps to increase your commitment to a fitness routine. When working out with others, cancellations and ‘no-shows’ are less likely as the group dynamic might prevent you from it. And it’s exactly this consistency that will offer you all the long-term health benefits that come with exercise.
3. You push yourself harder
In addition to helping you stay consistent, exercise partners can also inspire and motivate you to perform better. It’s common for group members to cheer each other on, which can make you push yourself harder and lead to improved endurance, strength, balance, and flexiblity. While endurance exercises improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system, muscle strength and better flexibility can make everyday activities feel easier and boost your overall energy. Moreover, if everyone in your group exercise class is at a similar fitness level, you will improve together, which can enhance your morale and motivation.
To maintain good health in body and mind, it’s important that you stay physically active. Exercising with a friend, partner or group benefits your mental health and is a great way to keep you motivated, consistent, and can even save you money. Regardless of how you choose to exercise, or with whom, it’s important that you get started. And sometimes, the best way to do that is with a friend, partner or a group.