Benefits of Taking Exercise in a Group Are Massive for Exercisers
Anyone who has been part of group exercise much better knows the benefits of group exercise. All the members of the group exercise develop the sense of ‘we’ belonging by identifying themselves with the group.
There are numerous benefits of having this sense of ‘we’ which include the satisfaction of life, support, group cohesion and exercise of confidence. Also when people identify themselves with an exercise group, there is more likelihood of more improvement in group attendance, efforts and exercise volume.
To take exercise in group shape is a way to support and encourage an exercise routine.
But what happens when the members of the group exercise stop relying on the support of their exercise group?
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We have started to answer this question in our kinesiology laboratory at the University of Manitoba. There are certain specific situations when group members stop relying on each other like when they relocate and shift to a new place, become a parent or join a new job with a challenging environment. It has been observed that many regular exercisers all of sudden lost access to their group of exercise because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Identifying with group
To understand if it is something difficult for habitual group exercisers to take exercise alone in the absence of the other group members, we asked this question from the group exercise members about their reaction if their group was no longer available to them. Those group exercisers who strongly identified themselves with the identity of the group were less confident to take exercise in a proper way alone and thought this task would be very difficult for them.
We found similar results in two more studies which were conducted to know about the feelings of the public because of the restrictions on group gatherings due to the Pandemic. Again in this research, we found that group exercisers who affiliated themselves with the sense of ‘we’ found it difficult enough to take exercise alone.
It was because of collectively facing the challenges and overcoming them with mutual efforts and when they found themselves alone they felt less confident to continue their exercises with the same zest and spirit. Many of the group exercisers we interviewed felt so discouraged because of the restrictions of the COVID-19 that they stopped exercising altogether.
These findings are comparable to other research which suggests that when exercisers become excessively reliant on other team members, it becomes difficult for them to take exercise alone.
Group exercise provides the exercisers with a sense of encouragement and motivation while without group exercise they feel discouraged and less motivated. When they take exercise in a group shape they develop a collective identity to take exercise with similar passions and they make their a role model with whom they take exercise regularly.