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The Buddy System: Group Fitness Benefits

It’s been said there’s strength in numbers.

In an age when it can often feel like every moment of the day is scheduled to the minute, workouts can get tossed to the side. Even worse, trying to continually force exercise can quickly cause self-motivation to evaporate.

Workout partners and group exercise can serve not only as a support system, but encourage a sense of community. Everyone is working hard together! Studies have shown that when it comes to exercise, social support does work, and can reinforce healthy habits. Whether it’s a spouse, a friend, or an entire group that meets regularly, social workouts can boost workout accountability and motivation.

At Flywheel Sports in Charlotte, group exercise is the only option. The indoor cycling studio offers riders the option to participate in a competitive “TorqBoard” that posts data from their power output on a digital board in the studio. A state-of-the-art sound system and heart-pounding music drives participants to work even harder, all in the name of friendly competition. Its sister FlyBarre class offers body-sculpting and toning in a setting where mats are side-by-side and class members and instructor all interact in a challenging yet motivating atmosphere.

The key to making exercise a regular part of the schedule for some may be team or club sports – not just watching, but as a participant. An example is Charlotte Ultimate Frisbee, which offers club, pickup, league, tournament and youth options, truly appealing to all fitness levels.

And if fitness classes and teams aren’t your thing, just finding a friend to pair up for exercise can reap big rewards -- whether it’s walking or running, dates to meet at the gym or a yoga class, or something else. A workout pal can be your biggest cheerleader, help make your workouts safer and encourage you to push harder. Here are even more benefits of working out with a partner or group: 
  
Moral support. Going to a group fitness class alone for the first time can be daunting. You don’t know how crowded it will be, how prepared you are, how your fitness level will compare to everyone else, etc. Avoid those feelings by attending a class with your friends or gathering at someone’s house. 
  
Accountability. If no one knows who you are or that you were planning to work out, then it’s much easier to decide against exercising for the day. But if your friends are depending on you, you’ll make the extra effort to make time for your workout. 
  
Learning opportunities. Your friends probably enjoy different types of exercise than you. Let everyone take turns choosing a class, or have everyone take turns teaching moves they like to the rest of the group so that you can find new ways to burn calories. 
  
Money saving. While another way to feel accountable would be to go with a personal trainer, it is definitely a pricier option. Group classes are much more cost effective and still keep you motivated to keep up with the rest of the group. An even more budget friendly option is to gather friends and exercise to workout videos together. 
  
Comic relief. Sometimes all you need during a tough workout is a quick laugh, and what better way to laugh than with your friends?

So buddy up… ‘cause having sore muscles together can feel pretty great.  

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