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Posted Feb 21 2011 2:33pm
You know that regular physical activity is good for you. What you may not know is that the company you keep while you work out is just as important.
New research suggests that you get even more benefit from your exercise routine if you work out in a group. Studies found that social isolation could decrease or delay the benefits of exercise; on the other hand, camaraderie helps create new neurons in the area of the brain associated with learning.  Earlier studies also suggest that group exercise unleashes a flood of endorphins in the brain, which create a natural “high” – the reason why they are known as “feel good” hormones.
If you prefer to work out alone, that’s fine; it’s certainly much better than not exercising at all, however, as the study’s findings show, exercising in a group setting offers many more advantages.
Here are four of the numerous benefits of a group workout are:
Encouragement and motivation. “When you exercise alone, you have nobody there to keep you honest and you might be tempted to throw in the towel.  Your group will encourage you to keep going.”
Support. “Don’t underestimate the importance of emotional support you can get from your fitness buddies and your trainer. Just like in any social situation, doing activities with other people is more stimulating and fun than going it alone.”
Shared goals. “Whether it’s losing those extra ponds, or improving strength and muscle tone, you know others in the group are trying to accomplish the same goals. That creates a wonderful bond.”
Self-esteem. “The combination of improving your fitness, meeting new people, and keeping up your energy level with the others in your group will give you a great confidence boost.”

By incorporating interval, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills, the camps provide a total body workout. Everyone works to keep you on track and feeling good about your progress. Another perk, is that boot camp sessions are less expensive than many gym memberships or personal training sessions, an important consideration in this sluggish economy. No wonder the American Council on Exercise and American College of Sports Medicine have been naming boot camps as one of the hottest fitness trends for several years running – including in 2011.
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