Benefits of being part of a workout group

Studies have shown that people working out in a group tend to tap into their competitive natures, which causes them to push themselves harder.  PHOTO | TONY MUSHOBOROZI

What you need to know:

  • In a workout group, the members become cheerleaders. They are the best accountability partners on one’s training journey.

The old adage that birds of a feather fly together applies to humans as much as it applies to weaverbirds, stocks and geese. The group you end up being a part of influences you more than you would like to admit.

Ask anyone that frequents the neighbourhood watering hole and they will probably tell you that most times they go to meet the regular patrons more than they go for the actual drinks. The irony is that the more you meet your drinking buddies at the kafunda the more you inch towards alcoholism.

The same applies to exercise. Joining a neighbourhood workout group is the easiest way to build a strong workout habit, according to experts. Just as the fear of missing out on the weekend vibe at their favourite kafunda is real, being a part of a workout group may cause the same feelings, which may act as fuel to push you to go for workouts regularly. Also, joining a workout group may be the best way to finally beat alcohol at its own game. 


Studies have shown that people working out in a group tend to tap into their competitive nature, which causes them to push themselves harder than they would otherwise be able to if they were exercising solo. 

For instance, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in a recent study, when members of a workout group focus on the most active participants as targets to beat, it forms a “social ratchet where everyone increased everyone else’s activity levels.” 

Bless Tumwebaze aka Emanzi is an inventory accountant with Nina Interiors. He visited a doctor complaining of uncomfortable sleep and fatigue in July last year. He weighed 112kgs. The doctor advised him to exercise and cut off sugar and increase water intake to manage the weight. That is how he started his fitness journey with early morning walks soon afterwards. For two months, he walked, albeit struggling with motivation.  

In September, a friend met him struggling through one of these walks and invited him to his work soccer group. The group plays at Akajuma Agencies Limited, one of the neighbourhood tuffs around Seguku on Entebbe road. 

“I kicked off at the tuff in September 2023. Maximum time for each team at the tuff is one hour but I could barely run through the first half for the first month. By November 2023, I could fully play the 60 minutes without any hardships. By Christmas, I had cut my weight to 104 kilogrammes,” Tumwebaze says.

Tumwebaze says working out as part of a team has been so helpful because 30 minutes before match time, he gets about three friends calling and asking how far he is from the tuff. 

“I would easily cancel my early morning walks when I was doing it alone because no one was there to monitor me. A call for a beer was good enough to make me cancel an evening workout session and postpone to the next morning, which would probably not happen,” Tumwebaze says.


On top of being pushed to go workout by the enthusiasm of group members, Tumwebaze says he connected with people, especially those from the same line of work (accountancy), which built him in more ways than one. 

Lucky Ninsiima is a diary farmer based in Bushenyi. She is a walking enthusiast. She says joining the Joe Walker Community has kept her in check with both her walking schedules and fitness. 

“We are encouraged to set individual targets of kilometres to cover in a month and that keeps ringing like a bell in your mind that you have a mission to accomplish monthly. More so, we get reminders mid-month on how many kilometres one has covered so far and you [are forced to] up your game to hit your target,” Ninsiima says.


She adds that being part of a walking group fosters the sharing challenges, fitness ideas or experiences with other group members which helps her know that she is not facing something that has never been done before, or a challenge that has no way out. This helps relieve the burden and keeps her focused on the bigger picture. 

“I am sure I would have given up if I had no support system in form of a group,” she says. 

“At the end of every walk, sharing the kilometres covered with others feels awesome. And no matter the coverage, even when you return feeling as though you failed yourself, there is always someone to cheer you up and encourage you to keep pushing even the next day,” she says.

Andrew Mwanguhya is a sports journalist with Nation Media Group. As an on-screen television journalist, good looks are an asset as well as a tool. His workout of choice is walking and jogging. He says working out in a group is the one time he gets to connect with himself deeply.

“It is during those walks and runs that rich ideas flow. Working out in a group is enriching, it is about humanity. It is where office masks are taken off and you get to connect with real people,” he says.

In a workout group, the members become cheerleaders. They are the best accountability partners on one’s training journey.