Not since Jane Fonda’s heyday have exercise classes been so, well, hot. It’s hardly surprising, given the perks of group activity – gossip while you work. We sent Dr Nicola Davies to find out why.

Body combat classes

The reason fitness classes are so successful can simply be put down to the ‘group effect’.

The group effect is scientifically proven to help you maintain your motivation through support and inspiration. On your own, it is easier to stop your exercise regime before you achieve your goals. However, the group effect uses ‘the energy of many’, according to Les Mills, distributor of trademarked exercise progams that harness the group effect.

The energy of many makes exercise fun, motivational, and inspirational. Working out in a group can give us the confidence and support we need to unleash our true physical potential, which can also help us start to enjoy exercise rather than see it is a chore. “We are also socially motivated when we are in a setting that fosters camaraderie,” explains Dr Amanda Adams, a nutritionist and personal trainer.

Working out with others can also act as encouragement to push ourselves that little bit more. In my recent Body Attack class, I was desperately trying to achieve a better high-knee run than the woman next to me. Given she was a foot taller than me, I didn’t have a chance – that didn’t stop me trying, though, and that is the power of the group effect!

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