Can Group Exercise Help with Pain Relief?
Getting a little alone time these days can be a difficult task to accomplish. Daily exercise seems like the perfect occasion to get some “me time.” While a whopping 77 percent of Americans said they would rather exercise alone than sweating it out with their friends, there are some benefits to group exercise. Pain relief is one of them.
If you suffer from chronic pain or pain associated with an injury, you may want to rethink your solo workouts. There is mounting evidence that exercise sessions with others are better at staving off nagging discomfort.
Science backs group exercise pain benefits
You probably already know that exercise is one of the most effective ways to curb chronic pain. Did you know those pain relief benefits increase when you exercise with others? Not only can peers encourage you to keep going (even when it hurts), but they also can boost your body’s endorphin production, promoting natural pain relief.
In one study, researchers discovered that group workouts lowered stress by 26 percent and improved overall quality of life. We already know that high-stress levels can aggravate chronic pain. It only makes sense that keeping your anxiety in check can help you feel better physically and emotionally.
Other researchers at Oxford University conducted a group exercise experiment using the school’s internationally-renowned rowing team that determined “pulling together” increases your pain threshold. Rowers were divided into groups of six, with each team performing a series of identical workouts. Only one variable was introduced: whether the workouts were done alone or together.
After each workout, a blood pressure cuff was tightened around the participant’s upper arm until they reported it was causing them pain. Researchers noticed that participants consistently registered a higher pain tolerance when activity was completed as a group, even with identical workout intensity.
Why does this matter? It supports the idea that if you suffer from a chronic pain condition – arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy – working out in a group may provide more pain relief than exercising alone.
Best group exercise types for pain relief
When it comes to the group exercise for pain relief, physical therapists and other medical professionals have weighed in on the best types to include in your routine. Aerobic exercise classes have been studied extensively for their ability to reduce pain. What researchers have found is that moderate and vigorously intense aerobic exercise for 25 minutes reduces pain perception. While the source of the pain may still be present, you’re less likely to feel the discomfort it produces. That’s good news!
You don’t have to commit to intense sessions to get benefits from group exercise. Some types of chronic pain, like arthritis, respond better to gentle, low-intensity moves. One study found that tai chi classes are especially effective at reducing osteoarthritis pain. Yoga in community-based settings also proved successful in reducing chronic pain.
Other popular – and fun – group exercise classes you can take include:
Other natural ways to reduce chronic pain
Group exercise isn’t the only way to control your pain. You can get fast, powerful relief from any ache or discomfort with Premiere’s Pain Spray products. Sore muscles and joints won’t know what hit them when you liberally apply this all-natural product to affected areas. It’s great for arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, and neuropathy. You also can use it to relieve hip and knee pain or leg cramps.
Some other natural ways to calm that nagging pain:
- Epsom salts in a hot bath relax the body and mind, quelling chronic pain. Soaking with Epsom salts works especially well for back spasms and tight muscles.
- Fish oil is known for reducing inflammation, which can help stave off discomfort from conditions like arthritis. Avoid supplements that have a lot of artificial ingredients and fillers. To ensure quality, you also can look for certification seals from organizations like International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS), United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA).
- Red wine, grapes, and berries contain resveratrol, an anti-cancer, brain-protective, and life-prolonging compound. You can enjoy the benefits of drinking red wine, consuming red grapes and berries, or taking a supplement.
- Turmeric root is another natural anti-inflammatory that works wonders for joint pain like osteoarthritis. You can eat turmeric root in your food, or take a high-quality supplement, to enjoy the full benefits. As with fish oil, look for brands that carry certification seals from independent labs.
Ready, set, (group) exercise!
You know the only thing better for pain relief than exercising with a friend? Find a funny friend willing to take that Zumba class with you. Researchers discovered a while ago that laughter works a lot like group exercise. The more you laugh, the less pain you’ll experience.
Don’t believe me? Call up the funniest person you know and ask if you can work out together. You’ll be on your way to pain reduction in no time!