By Steven Cohen

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the most important trends in fitness for 2009 is Group Exercise. Group Exercise can take many forms. The vast majority of group exercise classes are offered at commercial fitness clubs, in the form of aerobics classes, yoga classes, boxing instruction, and spinning classes. Whatever the form, group exercise is becoming increasingly popular, as it provides class members with scheduled, supervised workouts. The scheduling of exercise forces individuals to make a time commitment to fitness, and the supervision of a group class enables even novice athletes to exercise safely, with proper technique.

Benefits of Group Exercise over Individual Exercise:

Social benefits – Most people spend their early years socializing in groups. This includes games and fitness activities. In later years, most individuals are too busy to socialize regularly. Group exercise can mitigate this problem, by allowing scheduled group activity time. Group exercise has the added benefit of preventing boredom with exercise, by adding an element of camaraderie to the chosen activity.
Increased safety – Working out in a class, with an instructor, can help insure that all participants are using proper exercise technique. Proper technique is important to maximize the benefit of exercise, while minimizing the risk of injury.
Accountability – Those who exercise in groups are more likely to stick to their workout programs, according to the ACSM. Making an appointment to exercise with others increases the likelihood that the individual will show up to exercise. There is no penalty for a missed workout for those who exercise alone. Those who exercise with a group risk angering workout partners if sessions are missed. This provides some extra motivation to stick with the program.