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Christchurch – Exercise has always been important and the latest research from the United States confirms the extra benefits of socialising in group activities, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

Nearly 40 percent of regular exercisers participate in group fitness classes in America, he says. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the American College of Sports Medicine predicted that group fitness would be one of the top three fitness industry trends in 2020.

Beddie, who works regularly with the World Health Organisation in Geneva and is helping other countries regarding exercise climbing out of covid lockdowns, says in a covid world, connection with others is more important than ever.

“The latest Iowa State University research backs up the comments many would make, around feeling better physical and mentally. There is clear evidence in the research that exercise not only helps the body, but the mind, helping a better mood, wellbeing, lowering depression. It also stalls the slowing cognitive decline as people age.

“Group activities continue to rate as one of the most popular in New Zealand with more than 90 percent of all exercise facilities offering some sort of group activities. More than two thirds of those are members of gyms taking part in one or more group activity on a regular basis.

“Group activities also provide a very accessible price point for people on limited budgets. They have also proven to increase exercise adherence.

“Those attending group exercises consistently show higher attendance rates than those who use other activities within gym spaces. Helping people stick with their ongoing exercise is important, our surveys show.”

The Iowa university research said exercising with others can satisfy some basic psychological needs. Exercising with others can make the whole process easier and more habitual. Group exercise appears to hold some benefits that individual exercise may not, the study said.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188