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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/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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As health clubs and gyms reopen following lockdowns, it is "absolutely crucial" operators take a ...
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Whole body cryotherapy
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Spa software
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Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Hillingdon
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Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

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
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
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
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/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,
Latest News
As health clubs and gyms reopen following lockdowns, it is "absolutely crucial" operators take a ...
Latest News
IHRSA and Fitness Brasil say they have signed a partnership agreement that will see the ...
Latest News
EuropeActive has joined the All Policies for a Healthy Europe (APHE) initiative, as part of ...
Latest News
Lack of exercise is a major cause of death from COVID-19, according to new research, ...
Latest News
World Leisure Organization (WLO) has opened the entry process for its International Innovation Prize. Now ...
Latest News
Health clubs, leisure centres and studios in England have opened today (12 April) for the ...
Latest News
A major new initiative will look to strengthen and unite the fitness industry's voice in ...
Latest News
A parliamentary report is calling for a £3bn intervention fund to build back better health ...
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Leisure centre operator Everyone Active has formed a partnership with WW (formerly called Weight Watchers), ...
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Adults suffering from chronic pain should be advised to take exercise, rather than be prescribed ...
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As health clubs and fitness studios in England are counting the hours down to reopening ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent member experience across a growing health and fitness brand can prove challenging.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Precor supports Aneurin Leisure Trust in three-site refurbishment
Welsh leisure trust, Aneurin Leisure (ALT), has announced it’s forging ahead with a £600,000 (US$821,000, €696,000) gym refurbishment in all three of its leisure centres.
Company profiles
Company profile: Jordan Fitness
Jordan Fitness have been at the forefront of premium gym design, with a strong reputation ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
Parkwood Leisure is a family-owned leisure management company working with local authority partners across England ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Hillingdon
Hillingdon Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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