Research has shown that community-based group workouts and physical therapist-administered group exercises dramatically improve balance and stability in older individuals in comparison to those who exercise alone at home or do not exercise regularly. Improved stability also greatly reduces the risk of falling in older persons. Falls are a major cause of injury, chronic pain, decreased mobility, morbidity, and mortality in individuals 65 years of age and older.
An added benefit of group exercise is that an instructor typically facilitates the class and this helps ensure that movements are being performed correctly. Group members can assist each other maintain proper posture and form which can help reduce the risk of injury.
Group-based exercise has also been shown to promote greater satisfaction and exercise discipline among group members. This is because instructors and group members taking the class tend to encourage each other to regularly attend the workouts and finish a session when fatigue begins to set in. Individuals who exercise alone have to motivate themselves to exercise regularly; therefore, they may be easily discouraged to continue exercising when they begin to feel tired, since there is no group encouragement.
Group-based workouts have even proven to be more effective than individual exercise at reducing chronic back pain, enhancing energy levels and mood, and improving mobility. Again, this appears to be due to the supervision that is provided by the instructor and other group members as well as the increased exercise adherence and program completion that is typically displayed amongst group members.
Moreover, people suffering from serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease have experienced health benefits from group workouts. These benefits include less fatigue and muscle stiffness as well as improved balance, mobility, and quality of life. Individuals with such diseases who exercise alone tend to experience lower levels of improvement.
If a previous or current injury is discouraging you from participating in group workouts or you want to avoid further injury by ensuring that the proper form and techniques are being performed, our trained professionals can provide you with advice regarding specific strength training techniques and physical therapy exercises that have proven to be useful.
Our Physical Therapists would be happy to assess your current physical state and guide you towards training and activities that are tailored to meet your specific needs and goals. Call us at 541-505-8180 or email us to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have.
- Penedo FJ, Dahn JR. Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2005; 18(2):189-193.
- Barnes DE, Santos-Modesitt W, Poelke G, Kramer AF, Castro C, Middleton LE, Yafee K. The Mental Activity and eXercise (MAX) trial: a randomized controlled trial to enhance cognitive function in older adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(9):797-804.
- Barnett A, Smith B, Lord SR, Williams M, Baumand A. Community-based group exercise improves balance and reduces falls in at-risk older people: a randomised controlled trial. Age Ageing. 2003; 32(4):407-414.
- Martin JT, Wolf A, Moore JL, Rolenz E, DiNinno A, Reneker JC. The effectiveness of physical therapist-administered group-based exercise on fall prevention: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2013; 36(4):182-193.
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- Combs SA, Diehl MD, Chrzastowski C, Didrick N, McCoin B, Mox N, Staples WH, Wayman J. Community-based group exercise for persons with Parkinson disease: a randomized controlled trial. NeuroRehabilitation. 2013; 32(1):117-124.