If you’re thinking about nixing your ClassPass subscription for a gym membership, you may want to reconsider. Aside from the fact that hitting the treadmill alone every morning can become boring, it turns out that fitness classes may actually be better for you. A recent study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that group fitness is better for your body, mind, and quality of life.
The study, which is admittedly small, tracked the activity of 69 participants at the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine over 12 weeks to explore the relationship between physical activity, stress, and overall quality of life. Participants that worked out in a group setting at least once a week reported an improved physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Researchers also found that working out in a group decreased these participant’s perceived stress (aka how uncontrollable and overloaded you feel your life is) levels by 26 percent.
Whereas participants who worked out alone or with up to two buddies showed no statistically significant changes during the 12-week period. Keep in mind, however, that a very specific sample was used and the trial was short. Physically speaking, trainers will tell you that some people don’t see visible changes for up to three months, and we all know that stress levels seesaw over time.
It’s important to find a fitness plan that works for you, whether that’s time at the gym or buddied up in a boutique class. But unless you're that rare person who can hit the ground running at 6 a.m., then social sweating does have its obvious benefits—from the motivation to the accountability (these classes aren’t cheap) to camaraderie of it all. Because what brings people together like the physical misery endured during burpees?