With the days drawing in and the dreary weather looking like it’s here to stay, we can all be left feeling deflated. But don’t let your fitness goals fall by the wayside – group exercise is the perfect way to stay happy and healthy during the winter months.
Group exercise has proven to be one of the most beneficial and rewarding ways to get yourself moving when motivation is low. Offering both a physical and mental boost (along with some healthy competition) group exercise is a winner for both seasoned gym-goers and beginners.
Group workout psychology
According to researchers from the University of Oxford, group exercise creates strong social bonds between each participant that helps increase our fitness levels. These bonds act as a ‘social placebo’ which means it spurs us on when we would rather give up.r
Alongside this positive reinforcement, group settings triggers our competitive nature, which according to the University of Pennsylvania, is the strongest motivator. Competition has also been pinpointed as the driving force behind regular gym attendance.
In short, our minds prefer the idea of group workouts because we feel supported to go that extra mile, while also subconsciously hoping that we beat the rest of the team there.
Gym beginners shouldn’t be put off by group classes. Over the past few years, HIIT classes and circuits have been growing in popularity, with the Versaclimber taking a prime space for added cardio burn. Whether this is through supersetting climbing sprints with weight training, or dedicated climbing classes, they are the perfect workout for those who have trouble sticking to a plan or worry about getting form right. By surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals the pressure and fear is lifted as the class instructor helps you work through the regime, from warm-up to cool-down.
Added benefits for beginners
Versaclimber classes are suited for every fitness level and allow you to push yourself to reach the peak of your ability. Being around others motivates you to do better, ensuring that you’re always working to your maximum potential.
If you find it difficult to find the energy to go to the gym each day, work on the machines or slog it out on cardio, then the process of signing up to classes can be a real motivator. Simply booking (and paying for) a session reduces the chance of you finding an excuse not to go, helping you stay on track and hit your goals.
All around wellness
We’re not saying that you should avoid solo exercise, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to plug in their headphones and get moving. Group sessions, however, are perfect for those who need a little extra push, especially in the colder seasons; they can even give you ideas for your solo routines.
In 2017, Les Mills put group workouts to the test, analysing the impact on stress and quality of life. Participants reported a 12.6% increase in mental wellness, almost 25% increase in physical and just over 25 in emotional wellness. Stress also dropped by just over a quarter. The social aspect of the workout brings and element of fun to your gym session, helping you engage with it more than just fighting against weights.
Where to train
The Versaclimber wasn’t built just for solo climbing, and is often used for sprints in HIIT classes, charity climbs and an alternative to spinning classes. If you want to switch up your workout or even fancy pitching your climbing skills against others, then here are some of the group training classes in the UK:
- Sweat by BXR – Canary Wharf
- Sweat by BXR London – Chiltern Street
- Body Society
- Salt Gymnasia at Woolacombe Bay Hotel
- W10 – West London