The Benefits of a Group

Last weekend was the big finale for our C25K (Couch to 5K) group.  We all spent the summer training together for a 5K.  Last weekend was the 5K our group ran together.  For a few of us, this was not our first year in the group.  For others, it was their first year and their first 5K.

The morning was a cool and crisp 55 degrees.  The course was fairly flat on a paved highway.  Running on pavement is my favorite, so I loved it.

We all had our own personal goals, which I believe everyone met.  Thanks to our coach, we were all very well prepared.  Many in our group received medals!

Working out in a group has been great for me, especially when trying something new.  Here are some advantages of working within a group:

Leadership.  If you’re working in a group, there is most likely going to be a group leader.  This is someone that is experienced in the task at hand.  When you meet, the leader will most likely have a workout already planned.  All you have to do is show up and follow directions.

You’re not alone.  Trying something new on your own can be difficult.  You may not know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  If you’re working in a group, you have a lot of people to help you.  There will probably be other people in your group in the same shoes you are.  When trying something new, it’s nice not to be alone.

Defined meeting time and place.  Group workouts will have an appointed meeting time and place.  Your workouts are already scheduled for you!  Some might see this as a disadvantage but working in a group will keep you from using excuses not to work out.  You’ll show up on days you really didn’t want to work out and do it anyway.  When I do this, I’m always glad I showed up.

Accountability.  If you don’t show up, everyone is going to be asking where you were! Other in your group will let you know when you’re doing a great job, and when you’re slacking as well.

Collaboration.  You can glean from your coach and from those in your group.  You can share knowledge, experience, ideas, mistakes, and successes even.

Encouragement.  With physical exercise not only are you having to mentally learn something new, but you are most likely stretching your body physically.  You will be surrounded by people that are there for the same reason you are–to better yourself.  I have never seen people be more encouraging to one another as I have seen in the fitness community.  On the days that you “don’t want to” or “don’t feel like it,” you’ll have people to encourage you and get you moving anyway.  On the days that you’re feeling great, you can be an encouragement to others.

Camaraderie.  Whether you’re in a team sport or doing something that’s more individual, you will develop the same camaraderie a team does.  You will all have this “we’re all in this together” attitude.  The strong will encourage the weak (so to speak), and the weak will remind the strong of where they once were and how far they’ve come.

Relationships.  Most likely, you will gain a new friend or two.  It may not be a close relationship or someone that you tell your secrets to, but eventually you will find a workout buddy that you can exercise with.   This could prove invaluable when the time allotted for your group has expired.

If you’re wanting to try something new whether it be exercising, knitting, or cooking finding a group to be involved in may be the motivation to do it.  Your group will be made up of people with varying degrees of knowledge and experience.  You can all glean from each other while learning something new together or trying to meet a new goal.  This can make learning or doing something new a lot less painful while boosting your odds of success far above that of doing it on your own.

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