social workout

With many of us swapping the pub for healthier ways to socialise, we explore why group exercise is such a game-changer. Plus, we look at 5 ways to work out that’ll keep both social butterflies and fitness fanatics happy.

It’s tough to squeeze in fitness and socialising on top of the daily grind. But times are changing, as more and more of us replacing the pub for a group PT session.

With over 4.2 million of us going sober for Dry January 2020, and a quarter of pubs closing over the past 35 years, it’s clear that our social habits are slowly but surely moving away from away from boozy nights out.

Instead, many of us are replacing nights out with exercise classes, and we’re reaping the benefits of catching up via the park or gym studio more than ever before. We’re even embracing morning workout raves and ‘sweat crawls’ – a US trend where friends gather together and try classes at different studios across the day.

Why are group workouts such a big deal?

Group exercise can make us more social versions of ourselves. The endorphins we produce during a workout help us bond us with others. “We create connections when we move in unison with other people, whether during a yoga flow or running beside each other,” says Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist at Stanford University and author of The Joy of Movement. “This helps to explain why those with we participate on teams or share fitness friendships with often feel like family.”

Putting the science into action

Ready to get your blood pumping? Here are five group activities and workouts people are loving right now.

1. Best for HIIT-loving friends: outdoor Battlebox sessions

If you want to try something with lots of variety and love the buzz of group exercise, try the new outdoor Battlebox classes at David Lloyd Clubs. With the ‘box’, you’ll have access to different workout zones, such as weight benches and fitness obstacle courses and be encouraged to push yourself. They even run family play sessions.

2. Best for low-impact lovers: community walking clubs

Walking is cool again. Many gyms across London offer walking clubs, so you can get your steps up and get social. To find a walking club near you, head to the timeoutdoors listings.

3. Best for families: GPS family treasure hunts

Maximise quality time with your family and increase your step count with one of huntfun’s 200 GPS-led scavenger hunts across the UK. From spy missions to magical spells, you’ll navigate to the ‘huntfun hotspots’ and complete active challenges together.

4. Best for stressed-out colleagues: lunch-break yoga and meditation

More than a third of us don’t leave our desks during lunch, so lead the charge and encourage your work friends to swap their desks for a short yoga or meditation session at Virgin Active.

5. Best for group training: outdoor running, cycling and rehab classes

If you’re training for an event together, Nuffield Health gyms will help you reach your goals in a group setting. Think outdoor running clubs, group NuCycle classes with real-time performance stats, and 30-minute CXWORX classes – science-based sessions to rehab tired muscles.

If you’re a Vitality health insurance or life insurance member with an eligible plan, you can get up to 50% off monthly gym membership fees with David Lloyd Clubs, Nuffield Health and Virgin Active. A joining fee may apply.