Best Social Exercises for Weight Loss
The best exercises for groups are flexible and should account for different levels of fitness. Team sports and yoga are helpful for giving all members of a group the ability to participate without feeling overwhelmed.
Working out in a social situation has been proven by scientific studies to make a significant difference to a person’s stamina, tolerance and enjoyment of an exercise period. Group workouts help exercisers to keep pushing themselves to keep up with others, and when a group of people exercise regularly it helps all members of a group to make smarter decisions surrounding health and weight. The exercises that groups choose should be flexible to allow all members of the group to perform at their own speed and pace – for this reason, enclosed activities such as team sports and yoga may be preferable for aiding weight loss.
Working Out Together
There are significant benefits to working out with a partner or in groups. Social exercising helps to motivate all exercisers to work out longer and harder, and the camaraderie and encouragement that exercisers gain from their fellows helps to make the experience of exercising more enjoyable.
There is a variety of research which points to the benefits of working out in groups – not least because it’s more socially enjoyable than working out alone, meaning that the experience isn’t as draining or difficult because workout periods are more mentally and socially stimulating. Interestingly, this works both ways, as it’s been found by some psychology and sociology experts that regular periods of workout help the brain to function better in social situations and helps with the development of social skills in general.
There have been a lot of clinical studies into group exercise which have found that there are significant health benefits to be had from working out together.
One study in 2013 introduced workplace group exercise plans into two participant groups’ work day, while monitoring an additional two groups that did not have group exercise routines introduced to work as a control group. Over the course of the study, it was found that participants of the study who were involved in exercise routines lost significantly more weight than those at the control sites who were not involved in the study, which is to be expected. Particularly interesting, though, was the effect that the workout exercises had on other workers who were not involved in the workout trials themselves.
It was found that overweight and obese workers whose colleagues were involved in group workouts also lost weight, even if they weren’t part of the mandated workout schedule. This is believed to be because a greater atmosphere of fitness and exercise in groups of people who regularly associate together influence the entire group’s behaviour, making exercise more important for all members of the group. This has led scientists to suggest that group behaviour means that when exercise is the norm for a group of people, all members of the group become more concerned with getting enough exercise and losing weight.
Another study in 2012 looked at the effects of working alongside a partner. Participants were encouraged to work out alongside a video of another person exercising in a conjunctive condition – the pace of the exercise is determined by the person who chooses to stop exercising first. Participants were led to believe that they were watching a live feed of another participant in a different location exercising, and were told that both people would exercise until one or the other was tired and chose to stop, at which point both partners would stop.
Unbeknown to participants, the person they were exercising with was a looped recording, who would keep exercising indefinitely. It was found that, when participants believed that their own performance would help another exerciser to get a more effective workout, they exercised for longer so as to benefit their partner. This, the study concluded, shows that group exercise is mutually beneficial even for weaker exercisers who feel the need to stop, as their workout continues for longer when they know they are helping others through continuing to exercise.
Everybody is different, and finding an exercise that all members of a group can enjoy together isn’t always easy. While some exercises are more effective than others, different people will require a different pace and focus to make sure their exercise routine suits them, which is why when working out in a group, the most important element of an exercise is not necessary how effective it is, but how popular it is among your group.
If one member of the group is seeing fantastic results from a particular exercise and is getting very involved in their workout, but other group members aren’t seeing the same benefits or aren’t as enthused about an exercise, it’s unlikely that the entire group will continue exercising, meaning that the benefits of working out together will be lost. Similarly, if an exercise routine is too intense or time consuming, members of the group will end up dropping out because they can’t keep up with the challenges of the schedule, reducing the collective benefits to exercising as a whole.
Instead, groups should work together to find an exercise pattern that works for everyone. These exercises don’t need to be about losing the most weight as quickly as possible: instead, the focus should be on finding an exercise routine that keeps all group members enthusiastic about activities. Then, ideally, the benefits of social exercise will inspire all group members to undertake additional, more focused exercise at their leisure. Ultimately the goal should be on helping all members of the group to get into a pattern of regular exercise, and whatever workouts help this to happen – even if they’re relatively tame – are acceptable.
One of the best things that groups can do when exercising together is engage in friendly competition. Performing team sports gives all members of a group the opportunity to work out at their own level and put in as much effort as they feel they are capable of. A limited geographical area for a game means that even if some exercisers want to run or perform faster, they’ll still be playing alongside the rest of the group, thus maintaining the aspect of friendship and camaraderie with players who prefer to take things a little slower. Depending on the level of intensity, team sports such as football can help participants to burn a significant amount of calories.
With a competitive focus for group workouts, all members of the group have a reason to participate and try their best, thereby pushing themselves to do better and get the most out of their workout. It should be said, though, that the competition should stay informal and friendly – if things get too heated, players risk injuring themselves by trying too hard, losing interest when they’re completely outmatched, or feeling anxious that their performance doesn’t measure up with the rest of the group.
For this reason, it helps to engage in a variety of warmups and trials, rather than playing a single sport for the entire period of workout. These workouts can involve running, ball skills, shooting practice and relays to give everyone a chance to participate in a variety of smaller activities which supplement the main game.
Jogging or Running
One group exercise activity that’s growing in popularity is the idea of team running groups – exercisers all run or jog together in order to have a strong camaraderie and to give everyone a chance to push themselves alongside another runner. Running in groups has been found to be more effective than running alone, as runners are more willing to run for longer when engaging in exercise alongside another person, both because runners have support through the difficult parts of the exercise, and because having company while running makes the experience more enjoyable.
Finding a running partner who is at the same level in terms of speed and endurance isn’t always easy, and it can be difficult if one exerciser is setting a much faster or slower pace than their partner – someone will always end up either feeling impatient or overworked. For this reason, larger groups of runners are becoming more popular, allowing the group to stagger down into smaller groups who run at different paces to give everyone the chance to feel involved and to have someone matching their own pace to run alongside.
For those who prefer a more stationary workout routine, yoga is a popular group activity that lets everyone, regardless of their level of fitness, participate in the same room. Yoga may not necessarily provide the same level of weight loss that more aerobic activities might generate, but as an activity that a group of exercisers can perform together, it’s very beneficial.
What’s more, even though yoga isn’t a particularly aerobic form of exercise in many cases, it does have significant proven health benefits. It’s been found that yoga helps to prevent and heal the effects of heart disease, as well as preventing the development of type-2 diabetes symptoms. Clinical trials have found that yoga does provide a ‘potentially successful’ weight loss benefit when performed regularly over time.
Yoga is popular because it’s accessible for exercisers at any level, and as such it’s easy to get started with and may help to inspire a greater interest in solo exercise activities. It’s an exercise which is relatively easy for a group of exercisers with different needs to perform together, although those looking for intense weight loss or muscle development may not see results as fast as they might like, depending on the form of yoga undertaken and the level to which it is performed – more complex positions can help to increase muscle development and weight loss, but these can be difficult for beginners, making them unsuitable for a group with differing exercise needs.
Exercise can often be taxing, especially during the period when exercisers are first establishing a workout routine. For this reason, it’s beneficial to work out together in groups – research has shown that working out in teams helps exercisers to work out for longer. The key to choosing effective group workout activities is making sure that every member of the group is comfortable yet challenged by the workout – for this reason, group activities such as team sports, running together, and yoga are beneficial as they keep all exercisers in the same relative area while providing extra challenges for those who want to work out harder.
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