After a year of working out in almost total isolation, fitness lovers are finally branching their exercise tentacles into more sociable waters with gym memberships, fitness classes, and more. But for individuals who aren’t yet comfortable to dive into the deep end of communal workouts, an alternative form of community is quickly making itself known.
After all, you don’t need to get up close and personal in a stuffy room to feel the benefits of communal exercise. Instead, countless individuals are realizing the value of taking friends for an outdoor workout, be that in the form of running, biking, or other. Without once overstepping anyone’s boundaries, this more open-air form of societal fitness is going a long way to proving the theory that there’s strength in numbers, and we’re going to consider why.
# 1 – Accountability
While those of us with gym memberships or class sign-ups already have an accountability wager on our heads, individuals engaging in solo outdoor exercise have always been the freest of the free. And, historically, that’s made us just a teensy bit more susceptible to cheating on our exercises or skipping workouts altogether. Unfortunately, the physical demand of outdoor exercises like running and cycling means that this on-off approach can have serious repercussions, leaving us at real risk of injury and halted progress.
The vast majority of us found ourselves falling foul to these setbacks at least some time during lockdowns and, now that we’re able to, ensuring an outdoor fitness community is the best way to offset those risks. Admittedly, even having a group of friends to meet with isn’t always enough to get you out there every day. But, knowing that your friends are going to ask questions and that you’ll miss out on all of the fun if you don’t go makes it way more likely that you’ll get out there often enough to feel the full fitness benefits of doing so.
# 2 – The safety you need
Whether you’re working out in the gym or are running cross country in the middle of nowhere, all exercise efforts come with a safety warning. Unfortunately, while you’re always close to trained professionals in an indoor exercise environment, the same can’t be said for outdoor efforts. Hence, while not necessarily riskier, many outdoor exercises do often bring more severe injuries overall. This is especially the case with unmanageable outside risks like cars (which were involved in as many as 16,884 cyclist injuries in 2019 alone) posing yet further problems. Even common issues like sprains or muscle cramps become more serious in the middle of nowhere, especially when you add wildlife and other risks to the picture.
In this sense, group exercise is not just a fun way to get motivated but is also key to staying safe. Having larger numbers especially means that someone can stay with the injured party while others head off to find all-important help. Equally, larger groups make it far less likely that something like a road traffic accident will occur, as you’ll be both more visible on the road and better able to spot risks from all angles. Even if the worst does happen, having a community is going to help a great deal once you find the personal injury attorney for you, ensuring second-hand accounts that can help to win your case. All of these protections can make a huge difference to your safety, and recovery, whenever you head out, and you simply need a community to make it possible.
# 3 – A sure chance to feel good
Exercise-induced endorphins are amazing for boosting mood and making us feel generally better about our bodies, but like all good feelings, we limit that buzz a little when we experience it alone, as well as cutting ourselves off from further feel-good benefits. After all, the evidence clearly shows that socialization itself brings many of the same benefits as exercise, helping us to improve cognitive function, enhance feelings of well-being, and even lengthen our lifespans.
When you pair exercise and socialization together, it therefore makes sense that you’re creating the best possible cocktail for happiness, especially when you throw in time spent outdoors which, incidentally, can also be great for getting those feel-good reactions firing. Far from wishing you could just stay in bed, then, taking the time for a good chat with your favorite people amid your workout could see you fighting to get back to fitness the next day. And, what could be better for your exercise efforts than that?