Benefits of Group Exercise
It’s been a long day, it’s drizzling and getting yourself off the couch and into the gym is the very last thing you feel like doing. Sound familiar? Sometimes, it can be tough to motivate yourself to stick with your exercise routine. That’s where competing in a group comes into play! Exercising with others can help keep your motivation up and even expand your social circle. To find out more, we spoke to Brian Bruton, coach with the Galway City Harriers - one of Ireland’s largest athletics clubs.
Feel Involved in Something
We humans are social by nature, so - as Brian explains - being active in a group can help us feel part of a community. “Exercising can be hard,” he notes. “It could be wet and windy, or you might not be feeling great when you turn up to training. Having a group of people doing it with you helps you feel you’re involved in something. There are lots of physical benefits, but it’s psychological and mental as well.”
Brian has seen first-hand the transformative effects of competing in groups through an initiative called Fit4Life. This program is run by Athletics Ireland and helps people of all levels increase their fitness. “It’s like a couch to 5k - but more social,” Brian explains. It also keeps you engaged long-term. “A lot of people who would have started 10 years ago are still involved.” With various groups for all levels, it’s a great way to start your group fitness journey. “It gets people out and about, active and into a healthier frame of mind. It helps them meet new people as well.”
Increase Your Social Circle
This social aspect of competing in groups is something Brian is keen to stress. “People make a brilliant circle of friends when they take up a sport or activity.” When it comes to athletics, with over 320 clubs in the country, Brian notes that “it’s really easy to get involved. You’re not stuck inside a gym, so there are mental and wellbeing benefits too.”
As anyone who’s taken part in a big race will know, there’s a motivating factor to doing things with others. “The group progresses your training too. If you work out with a buddy,” says Brian, “15 mins could go by and you wouldn’t even notice.” So whether you’re training for the Olympics or your local 5k, “if there are 10 people at a training session it’s going to be a lot easier than doing it alone.”