They say two is better than one. That is so evident when it comes to fitness and exercise.
The research on group wellness over solo exercise reinforces the idea that having a workout partner increases our likelihood of sticking to our fitness goals, and working out with others can increase performance. I’ve had first-hand experience of how impactful group fitness can be – not only for my physical well being but for my mental one, too. Groups take us out of social isolation, an issue that we’re continuing to battle as we retreat into a social media cocoon, feeling the loneliness of the outside world.
According to researchers at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine group workouts can lower stress by 26% and improve quality of life. Researchers studied 69 students who were participating in a 12-week program. The students were split up into individual workout programs and group workouts. Those working out in a group setting had improvements in their mental health by 12.6%, 26% in emotional health and 24.8% in physical health. Those aren’t numbers to balk at. Coming together to work out is a communal acknowledgment of being on the same page and holding each other accountable.
Group fitness re-energizes the body, mind, and soul. I saw the difference it made when it came to my own training for marathons. It significantly changed my ability to resonate with people, but it also made my goals more relatable. Group fitness also pushes us to work harder. And that extra challenge rewards us both physically and emotionally. In turn, this success can spur us to seek new challenges and realize further growth.
A data analysis conducted by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that 59.4% of employees think employers should do more to consider the health of their employees. It is this type of knowledge that launched Sprout, my tech wellness company co-founded with my partner Christina Ford in 2012. We wanted to create a tool that allowed employees to connect and support each other on their wellbeing journeys. Today, Sprout has grown to be a leading corporate wellness platform committed to enabling workplace wellbeing and helping organizations identify and reward healthy behaviour.
At the core, a group wellness program sets a pattern of behavioural change. More than that, group wellness is meant to serve as the pillar of establishing a community of like-minded people in the workplace with a goal to make a change, establish healthy habits, and learn new ones. Let’s face it, we spend a large portion of our time with our co-workers, often more than our family and friends. Nurturing connections with our colleagues has become vital to enjoying ourselves and reducing the loneliness we can feel inside and outside of the workplace.