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features

Group exercise: The power of groupness

Does your fitness studio offer the antidote to tech-driven loneliness?

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
Gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise, new research has found
Gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise, new research has found

We know it's been hailed as the answer to any number of ailments – heart disease, depression and chronic back pain, to name a few. But could exercise also be the antidote to a more modern phenomenon – tech-driven loneliness?

As the proliferation of smartphones, social media and remote working continues to erode human touchpoints in our lives, particularly among the younger generations, loneliness is becoming a major social issue.

According to a 2018 survey from The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), more than two in ten adults in the United States (22 per cent) and the United Kingdom (23 per cent) say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated. The survey cited technology as a major contributor.

Now, new research suggests health clubs could have a major role to play in strengthening communities and helping people to digitally disconnect and get back to their real-world roots by reaping the benefits of shared exercise experiences.

Published recently in the Journal of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, the Les Mills Groupness Study found that gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise. It identified the powerful role that ‘the group effect’ can play in positively influencing a health club member’s overall workout experience – and their intention to return.

“What our findings show is that we really are social animals when it comes to working out,” says Les Mills head of research Bryce Hastings. “When you maximise the group effect, this leads to a high level of what we’ve termed ‘groupness’. And the higher the level of groupness, the more we see increases in a person’s enjoyment, satisfaction and exertion during a group exercise class.”

The groupness factor was also cited as an influence on member retention, chiming with research which found group exercisers are less likely to cancel than gym-only members.

Instructors' contribution
“We now also know that increased groupness is correlated with a stronger intention to return, which may affect adherence. In other words, it’s all-encompassing for the club member,” Hastings adds, noting that the group exercise instructor plays a crucial role in maximising the group effect.

“Instructors are armed with the knowledge, skills and experience to know how to help people feel as though they’re working out as a true group, with shared goals," he explains.

“It’s their ability to connect with the individuals in the group and create a sense of ‘we’ in a class that produces a very positive overall experience. They take what we know from science and bring it to life for club members.”

The methodology
The study saw 97 adulttake part in a variety of Les Mills group fitness classes, including cv athletic conditioning, such as cycling, martial arts-inspired workouts, synchronised strength training using weights, and HIIT sessions.

The findings suggested that participants rated groupness higher for synchronised workouts such as Les Mills Bodycombat (where people are moving together) than “off the beat” workout programmes such as Les Mills Grit.

Growing body of evidence
The study adds to a mounting body of research that underlines the importance of group dynamics for enhancing exercise experiences. This includes the Les Mills Get Fit Together study and research into the effects of the Les Mills CXWORX workout on medical students’ stress levels and quality of life.

During the Get Fit Together study in 2012, participants reported the greatest levels of satisfaction when they felt more involved in the group activity. This trial of 25 sedentary adults found that group workouts alone can produce the physiological and musculoskeletal health benefits that are vital to a healthy lifestyle.

In 2017, Dr Dayna Yorks from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine found that people who took part in a study that investigated the impact of the CXWORX class scored significantly higher in terms of stress-reduction and physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared to those people who worked out alone.

With group exercise accounting for up to 50 per cent of attendances in many health clubs, the findings shed fresh light on the specific social benefits clubs are well-placed to provide and which can help members tackle loneliness and stay motivated.

At a time when Virtual and On Demand workouts are growing in popularity – with 85 per cent of gym members now also working out at home – the groupness study underlines the benefits of offering live group workouts in a club.

“Digital and technology are important – particularly for growing the market – but live classes will always be the pinnacle in terms of the experience and motivation clubs can offer members,” says Phillip Mills, executive director of Les Mills International.

“As a result of this study, we now have the evidence to show how much is actually at play within a group of exercisers. And by cranking up the levels of groupness, we have the power to create the ultimate exercise experience for club members.”

Bryce Hastings
"When you maximize the group effect, this leads to a high level of what we’ve termed ‘groupness’. And the higher the level of groupness, the more we see increases in a person’s enjoyment, satisfaction and exertion" - Bryce Hastings, Les Mills head of research
Phillip Mills
"Digital and technology are important – particularly for growing the market – but live classes will always be the pinnacle in terms of the experience and motivation that clubs can offer members" - Phillip Mills, executive director, Les Mills
The study looked at a range of synchronised workout programmes
The study looked at a range of synchronised workout programmes
Pre-choreographed classes were found to have higher levels of 'groupness' than 'off-the-beat' classes
Pre-choreographed classes were found to have higher levels of 'groupness' than 'off-the-beat' classes
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/306194_103306.jpg
The recently published Les Mills Groupness Study found that gym attendees experience increased level of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise...
Bryce Hastings, Les Mills head of research Phillip Mills, executive director, Les Mills,group exercise, Les Mills, groupness,
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features

Group exercise: The power of groupness

Does your fitness studio offer the antidote to tech-driven loneliness?

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
Gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise, new research has found
Gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise, new research has found

We know it's been hailed as the answer to any number of ailments – heart disease, depression and chronic back pain, to name a few. But could exercise also be the antidote to a more modern phenomenon – tech-driven loneliness?

As the proliferation of smartphones, social media and remote working continues to erode human touchpoints in our lives, particularly among the younger generations, loneliness is becoming a major social issue.

According to a 2018 survey from The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), more than two in ten adults in the United States (22 per cent) and the United Kingdom (23 per cent) say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated. The survey cited technology as a major contributor.

Now, new research suggests health clubs could have a major role to play in strengthening communities and helping people to digitally disconnect and get back to their real-world roots by reaping the benefits of shared exercise experiences.

Published recently in the Journal of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, the Les Mills Groupness Study found that gym attendees experience increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise. It identified the powerful role that ‘the group effect’ can play in positively influencing a health club member’s overall workout experience – and their intention to return.

“What our findings show is that we really are social animals when it comes to working out,” says Les Mills head of research Bryce Hastings. “When you maximise the group effect, this leads to a high level of what we’ve termed ‘groupness’. And the higher the level of groupness, the more we see increases in a person’s enjoyment, satisfaction and exertion during a group exercise class.”

The groupness factor was also cited as an influence on member retention, chiming with research which found group exercisers are less likely to cancel than gym-only members.

Instructors' contribution
“We now also know that increased groupness is correlated with a stronger intention to return, which may affect adherence. In other words, it’s all-encompassing for the club member,” Hastings adds, noting that the group exercise instructor plays a crucial role in maximising the group effect.

“Instructors are armed with the knowledge, skills and experience to know how to help people feel as though they’re working out as a true group, with shared goals," he explains.

“It’s their ability to connect with the individuals in the group and create a sense of ‘we’ in a class that produces a very positive overall experience. They take what we know from science and bring it to life for club members.”

The methodology
The study saw 97 adulttake part in a variety of Les Mills group fitness classes, including cv athletic conditioning, such as cycling, martial arts-inspired workouts, synchronised strength training using weights, and HIIT sessions.

The findings suggested that participants rated groupness higher for synchronised workouts such as Les Mills Bodycombat (where people are moving together) than “off the beat” workout programmes such as Les Mills Grit.

Growing body of evidence
The study adds to a mounting body of research that underlines the importance of group dynamics for enhancing exercise experiences. This includes the Les Mills Get Fit Together study and research into the effects of the Les Mills CXWORX workout on medical students’ stress levels and quality of life.

During the Get Fit Together study in 2012, participants reported the greatest levels of satisfaction when they felt more involved in the group activity. This trial of 25 sedentary adults found that group workouts alone can produce the physiological and musculoskeletal health benefits that are vital to a healthy lifestyle.

In 2017, Dr Dayna Yorks from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine found that people who took part in a study that investigated the impact of the CXWORX class scored significantly higher in terms of stress-reduction and physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared to those people who worked out alone.

With group exercise accounting for up to 50 per cent of attendances in many health clubs, the findings shed fresh light on the specific social benefits clubs are well-placed to provide and which can help members tackle loneliness and stay motivated.

At a time when Virtual and On Demand workouts are growing in popularity – with 85 per cent of gym members now also working out at home – the groupness study underlines the benefits of offering live group workouts in a club.

“Digital and technology are important – particularly for growing the market – but live classes will always be the pinnacle in terms of the experience and motivation clubs can offer members,” says Phillip Mills, executive director of Les Mills International.

“As a result of this study, we now have the evidence to show how much is actually at play within a group of exercisers. And by cranking up the levels of groupness, we have the power to create the ultimate exercise experience for club members.”

Bryce Hastings
"When you maximize the group effect, this leads to a high level of what we’ve termed ‘groupness’. And the higher the level of groupness, the more we see increases in a person’s enjoyment, satisfaction and exertion" - Bryce Hastings, Les Mills head of research
Phillip Mills
"Digital and technology are important – particularly for growing the market – but live classes will always be the pinnacle in terms of the experience and motivation that clubs can offer members" - Phillip Mills, executive director, Les Mills
The study looked at a range of synchronised workout programmes
The study looked at a range of synchronised workout programmes
Pre-choreographed classes were found to have higher levels of 'groupness' than 'off-the-beat' classes
Pre-choreographed classes were found to have higher levels of 'groupness' than 'off-the-beat' classes
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/306194_103306.jpg
The recently published Les Mills Groupness Study found that gym attendees experience increased level of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction as a result of group exercise...
Bryce Hastings, Les Mills head of research Phillip Mills, executive director, Les Mills,group exercise, Les Mills, groupness,
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Featured supplier: RLSS UK - First choice for all aquatic rescue, pool management, first aid qualifications and training
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is proud to be the industry leader in water-related safety qualifications and training. More than 40,000 pool lifeguards qualify with an RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) every year.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Staycationers treated to whale of a time at newly expanded W Club
Holiday complex Whalesborough Cottages and Spa in Bude, North Cornwall, has enhanced its visitor experience by expanding its leisure facilities.
Video Gallery
Wattbike AtomX
Wattbike
Join our tribe. Become powered by Wattbike. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: DFC
DFC
At DFC, we offer totally transparent revenue management solutions with clear pricing and no hidden ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Jordan Fitness
Jordan Fitness have been at the forefront of premium gym design, with a strong reputation ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Direct debit solutions
Debit Finance Collections: Direct debit solutions
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
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Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
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International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
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SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
Miha Bodytec GmbH: Fitness equipment
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Fisikal: Management software
Property & Tenders
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Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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