As those of you following this blog will know, we’ve been shouting about the benefits of group workout classes for a while now, but every now and then we stumble upon another study that further demonstrates the incredible effects that workouts of this kind can have on your mental and physical wellbeing. This particular study, published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association last year, found that regularly working out as part of a group can help to relieve work-related stress, with the study also indicating improvements in the participants’ overall quality of life.
If there’s one group of people that we could all agree face a considerable amount of stress in their working environment it’s med-students. Long, anti-social working hours, a multitude of high-stakes tasks, and extensive pressure can have a detrimental effect on their quality of life, particularly in relation to their physical, emotional and mental health; making them the ideal candidates for the study.
Researchers took 69 first and second-year students, who each selected a 12-week exercise program within either a group setting or on their own. Participants were then asked to answer a series of questions every month revolving around their levels of perceived stress and the aforementioned aspects of their quality of life. The results were astounding, with the group workout participants reporting 12.6% better mental health, 24.8% better physical health, 26% better emotional health, and a 26.2% reduction in perceived stress levels; and whilst individual exercisers worked out for almost double the amount of time, they saw no significant changes in any of the categories aside from an 11% increase in mental health. Now, it’s important to note that this is in no way showing that exercising on your own is bad – just that exercising as part of a group can have a range of additional benefits.
In the words of lead researcher Danya M. Yorks: “The communal benefits of coming together with friends and colleagues, and doing something difficult, while encouraging one another, pays dividends beyond exercising alone,” adding that “…giving students an outlet to help them manage stress and feel better mentally and physically can potentially alleviate some of the burnout and anxiety in the profession.”
If you think working out as part of a group could be beneficial to your overall wellbeing, then don’t hesitate to get involved. Head over to our main page and see how we can help you find outdoor group fitness opportunities in your local area and, as always, stay fit and healthy!