One of the best-kept secrets to achieving fitness success is the power of community. Essentrics® group classes – virtual and in person – provide unique advantages that are often missed when we work out alone. Let’s face it: finding the motivation to exercise can be challenging, so anything we can do to improve our chances of sticking to it is a bonus. Embracing the benefits of exercise and community builds social support, a sense of connection and belonging, as well as the much-needed motivation and accountability that drive us towards success. While solo workouts can be effective, some of us thrive on that extra boost that group classes provide!


The Positive Impact of Social Support

Studies have shown that exercising with others increases our physical, mental, and emotional quality of life. As social beings, we naturally crave interaction with others. Essentrics® group classes help us to feel seen, heard and valued, uplifting our spirits with smiles from instructors and fellow participants. When exercise brings us joy, we’re more likely to continue.

Working out alongside our peers helps us assess our fitness level more accurately. If we only exercise alone, it’s easy to overlook our true capabilities. Observing students of our own age – or older – helps us to redefine our personal goals. One of the most remarkable benefits of exercise and community: beginners feel encouraged as they see fellow exercisers moving with ease, while advanced students notice their own progress as they support newcomers to the program.



This supportive atmosphere promotes healthy behaviors. BioMed Central published a study in 2010 that showed women who see others engaging in physical activity may choose to do the same because of a strong social urge to conform and fit in. Witnessing our fellow students make positive choices makes us more likely to adopt similar attitudes and actions into our own lives – one of the many rewards of exercising within a community.


The shared endorphin experience during collective activities leads to feelings of closeness that endure even after the workout ends, crucial for creating new friendships.


The Value of Connection & Belonging

Essentrics® group classes create an environment where social bonding can take place. Participants synchronize their movements to music and perform movement sequences, (e.g., trademark exercises). This experience will make us realize that we’re not alone and that we belong. The shared endorphin experience during collective activities leads to feelings of closeness that endure even after the workout ends, creating a powerful brain process for forming friendships.

Virtual classes are just as effective at creating connections, as shown during the pandemic when we discovered the ability to come together as a community through platforms like Zoom. Recent studies found that anonymous online peers, like those in virtual group classes, were more successful at encouraging us to be physically active than promotional messaging we might see on social media telling us that we need to exercise.



Motivation & Accountability

Among the many benefits of exercise and community, one of the most prominent is the motivation to continue and progress. The sense of belonging to a group has a positive influence on our performance during classes. Seeing our friends succeed in a program encourages us to work harder to achieve similar results for ourselves.

Friends who exercise together keep each other accountable. It’s much harder to skip a workout when we know others expect to see us in our favorite Essentrics® group class! Belonging to an exercise group creates a form of social support that strengthens our identity as individuals who work out. The emotional support of our friends increases our desire to exercise, which strengthens our bond with the group and improves our health. When we feel better, we want to do better.


Get Started Today!

It’s so important to set ourselves up for success when we decide to get in shape. The benefits of exercise and community offer the support we need to achieve our personal health goals. With over 1000 instructors worldwide, the Essentrics® community is easy to join. You can find classes in parks, community centers, fitness studios and online. Sign up for an Essentrics® class today and experience the transformative power of exercising together.

Contributing Writer Beth Oldfield, Essentrics® Level 4 Instructor


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Yorks, Dayna M., Frothingham, Christopher A. and Schuenke, Mark D. “Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students” Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, vol. 117, no. 11, 2017, pp. e17-e25.
McGonigal, Kelly PhD. “Five Surprising Ways Exercise Changes Your Brain.” Greater Good Magazine: Science-Based Insights for a Meaningful Life, University of California, Berkeley. 6 Jan. 2020.
Ball, K., Jeffery, R.W., Abbott, G. et al. Is healthy behavior contagious: associations of social norms with physical activity and healthy eating. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 7, 86 (2010).