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Group Exercise Benefits

13 Amazing Benefits of Group Exercise

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There are many benefits of group exercise – and some of them may surprise you.

If you’re looking for a way to shake up your exercise routine and push yourself farther than before, a group exercise class may be what you’re looking for! Some benefits of a group exercise class mirror individual exercise, but additional social and mental benefits make it a great option for any fitness level.

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What is a group exercise class?

A group exercise class is led by a skilled instructor and includes multiple participants. You can also think of it as group personal training.

According to Polar, a well-known heart rate and fitness tracker company, if hiring a personal trainer isn’t a viable option for you, take a group exercise class instead of struggling through every workout, or risking injury. These classes allow you to work with a fitness professional without paying for a full personal training session..

Many gyms offer a wide variety of regularly scheduled group exercise classes. More specialized facilities may offer classes based around one type of activity, such as yoga or cycling.

What are the most popular group exercise classes?

Most group exercise classes are either aerobic or strength-based. Chances are you may have tried group exercise without even realizing it. Here are a few popular group exercise programs:

  • Yoga
  • Circuit Training
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • Water Aerobics
  • Cycling
  • Bootcamp
  • Zumba
  • Kickboxing

As with so many things, finding an exercise program that you love is essential! When you truly enjoy your form of exercise, it becomes much less of a chore and instead something you look forward to.

Advantages of Group Exercise

Now that we know what group exercise is, let’s take a look at some of its many benefits and advantages.

the ultimate guide to amazing benefits of group exercise


Safety is a huge benefit of group exercise. Your instructor is there to coach, encourage, and be mindful of safety considerations. They will ensure you’re using correct form, using equipment in the right way, are not engaging in risky behavior, and can suggest modifications, if necessary.

Although I enjoy going to the gym (and have for some time), I am not a certified expert in many areas. Working out in a group exercise setting ensures that I use proper form as I safely become familiar with new equipment.

Injury can happen to even the most experienced fitness enthusiasts, but working alongside a skilled instructor can help reduce that risk.


If you find it hard to make exercise a part of your routine, accountability may be one of the most helpful benefits of group exercise. As you become a “regular” in class, people will start to notice when you miss. Some instructors even make it a habit to regularly check in and message their class members.


Community may be my favorite benefits of group exercise! I teach an indoor cycling class twice a week, and honestly, my participants have quickly become my friends! We look forward to our time together and enjoy poking playful fun at one another…that is, when I give them a chance to catch their breath, haha.

If you are new to town, or looking to expand your circle of friendships, a group exercise class may be a great place to start. You already know you have at least one thing in common – the class!

Physical Benefits of Group Exercise

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise:

  • Controls weight
  • Combats certain health conditions and diseases
  • Improves mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Can be fun and social (yes, they really did say that!)

All of the benefits of group exercise make it an enjoyable way to work towards these health advantages.

Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

It is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services that adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity – or some combination of both.

Using an activity tracker, such as one of Fitbit’s many high-quality models, is a great way to track your progress and monitor your heart rate during workouts.

New! Fitbit Inspire HR

For a full review of the Fitbit Versa 2 and a list of the favorite features I use everyday, click on the button below.

If 150 minutes a week on a treadmill has you feeling less than enthused, what about 3 Zumba classes? Or try 2 HIIT or kickboxing classes? These group exercise classes will help you knock out those minutes in a fun and powerful way.

Build Muscular Endurance

I don’t know about you, but I am much better at pushing myself when in a group setting…or when I know someone is watching me! One of the benefits of group exercise is that you always have someone else there. Your instructor may have you do an extra set than you would normally do. They may even coach you to add additional weight!

Overcome Plateaus

A workout plateau is when you feel unmotivated, or in a rut. You may even have stopped making progress. It’s totally normal and does at some time happen to most people.

According to Sweat.com, you overcome an exercise plateau by

  1. increase the number of reps
  2. increasing the weight used in small increments
  3. increasing the number of exercises completed in a given timeframe

Working out in a group exercise setting can help you accomplish all of these goals and bring new life back into your fitness journey.

Add Variety

Sometimes, you just need a change. Trying a new group fitness class is an easy way to add variety to your workout, while still ensuring you get a great sweat session.

You may also learn new moves and routines that you can incorporate into your own personal workout regimen.

group exercise - 13 benefits

Mental Benefits of Group Exercise

Rob McGillivray, personal trainer and founder of RETROFIT, says that working out in a group (or tribe) is quickly becoming the preferred form of exercise because of motivational factors and increased internal (and external) competitive performance.

In other words, there is strength in numbers.

Reduce Stress

Taking the time to relax, focus on yourself, and escape life’s stress through exercise are few of the many benefits of group exercise. Instead of screaming, crying, stress-eating, or engaging in other detrimental activities, try working out your frustrations and tension in the gym.

Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. I think back to Legally Blonde – “happy people don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t!” People will often thank me for “spin therapy”after our cycling class. Exercise reduces stress – it’s a real thing.

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Here at Flawlessly Fit(ish), I believe that we are all worthy and deserving of love and respect, regardless of our shape or size. We aren’t competitors – we are teammates!

But the truth of the matter is that when we take care of ourselves and have a healthy self-view, we feel better ourselves. That may look different for each individual, but starting (and sticking with) any kind of fitness routine will often lead to improved self-esteem and self-confidence.

Group exercise is a great option for those new to fitness or those with a long-time workout regimen.

Follow the Leader

When you exercise alone, it is your job to choose the exercises, the weight, the intensity, and the duration of time for your workout. A benefit of group exercise is that you don’t have to do that. Just show up and follow the leader!

For those of us who enjoy “checking out” and relaxing when exercising, group fitness allows you to just be in the moment and follow along. All the benefits of exercise, but none of the planning.

Social Benefits of Group Exercise

Some people may feel uncomfortable or uneasy about going to the gym or exercising alone – especially if it is a new habit for them. The social benefits of group exercise may make that transition easier for some.

Meet New Friends

Calling our extroverts! If you want to be friends with a bunch of energetic and like-minded people, get yourself to a group fitness class pronto.

According to this article by NBC News, a study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found that participants gravitate towards the exercise behaviors of those around them. I would much rather mirror the exercise habits of those found in a group fitness class than those binge-watching TV.

Group exercise benefits

Expand Your Comfort Zone

Introverts, I see you, too. Trying something new can be intimidating, maybe even scary. But remember, the expert in anything was once a beginner just like you.

In addition to all of the other benefits of group exercise, getting you to expand your comfort zone may be one of the most important as it can be applied to several different aspects of life.

More Energy

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who feels like they don’t need more energy, have you? If you don’t believe me, check out any coffee shop first thing in the morning or at about 3 p.m.

This article by Everyday Health explains that exercise helps us have more energy by

  • An increase in endorphin levels. It’s the endorphin release that contributes to the feeling of euphoria commonly known as “runner’s high.”
  • Better heart health makes it easier to do all of your daily activities…with extra energy left over.
  • Improved sleep. High-quality sleep helps you to feel more rested and refreshed the next day.
  • Sharper focus again, thanks to those wonderful things called endorphins.

Are there any disadvantages to group exercise?

In an effort to be as helpful as possible, I want to quickly look at potential disadvantages of group exercise.

1. Lack of individual programming.

Like we mentioned in the beginning of this article, one of the benefits of group exercise is that it can be like personal training. But let’s be clear, it is not the same thing. Depending your health needs, goals, and concerns, personalized and individual attention may be a better, and safer, route for you.

Group exercise classes are designed for a wide variety of people. Although modifications may be available, it is not designed to be a personalized workout for each individual.

2. Lack of attention to form

Your instructor is focused and dedicated to ensuring everyone in the class remains safe and is getting as good of a workout as possible. With that being said, there may be times where you, or others, perform an exercise with less than ideal form or function. In a group exercise setting, it is virtually impossible for an instructor to guarantee that every participant is doing an exercise correctly every time.

3. Potential of over-training

Although group exercise can be a great way to stay in shape, it is possible to over-train. Make sure you pay attention to your own body and do not try to keep up with or out-do other class participants just for the sake of competition. If you are feeling fatigued or unwell, take time to rest and recover.

13 amazing benefits of group exercise

What is the best workout class?

Uh, indoor cycling, of course!!

But in all seriousness, the best workout class is one that YOU enjoy. Find one that gets you excited and that you look forward to – not one that you dread.

Here are a few ideas, based on possible fitness goals:

Weight Loss

  • Indoor cycling
  • Zumba
  • HIIT / Tabata

Strength Training

  • Boot Camp
  • TRX
  • Total Body Conditioning/Strength Train Together

Balance & Mobility

  • Pilates
  • Yoga

Final Benefits of Group Exercise Classes

Final benefits of group exercise classes are that they are oftentimes included in a gym’s membership fee and that many can be done with social distancing in mind.

By including a class in your membership, the gym is extending an additional benefit that you do not need to pay extra for. Take advantage of it!

Regarding social distancing, this is a strange time indeed. Many health and fitness facilities remain closed, but if you are fortunate enough to attend a group fitness class, social distancing practices such as masks and/or wiping of all equipment after use may be in place.

I hope this list of benefits of group exercise classes has you motivated, inspired, and ready to sweat!

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