Regardless of whether you're a heart attack or stroke survivor or you're simply trying to maintain your health, exercise is extremely important.

Working with your physician and perhaps a personal trainer to develop a personalized workout plan for you is a great first step, but there's more to exercise than simply working out. To be truly successful in any fitness plan, you'll also need to overcome the psychological challenges of working toward long-term health goals. Group fitness presents a wonderful way to approach exercise in a fun and motivating manner. If you're considering a new workout routine, take a look at some of the benefits of group fitness activities.

Time constraints

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when starting an exercise plan is finding the time. While this will remain true whether you're working out on your own or with others, group exercise can help make you more accountable.

Having a set period when you meet others to work out means you aren't only responsible for yourself, but you're also under an obligation to others. That will make it harder to rationalize skipping a workout. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, many gyms and workout facilities offer fitness classes for cardiac health that run for only 30 or 45 minutes. If you can't find a group to work out with on your own, this provides a healthy and easy-to-schedule alternative.

Variety

It's human nature to get bored repeating the same thing over and over. This includes your workout regimen. If you aren't intellectually engaged or stimulated by your exercise, you'll become increasingly likely to skip sessions.

As True Fitness points out, exercising with others can help increase the variety in your fitness routine. While you'll want your group to have similar fitness levels and goals (to ensure everyone can keep up), it's beneficial if each member has a preferred method of exercise. The group can then construct a calendar of workout routines, such as swimming one day, lifting the next, and running the day after that.

You'll find that this not only bolsters your workout efficiency but also makes the process much more fun.

Social experiences

Exercise is as much a social activity as it is a physical one. Exercising in a group will not only improve your overall health—it may also give you the opportunity to make new friends and experience new social situations. While this probably won't be the primary cause for taking up a new workout routine, it can be an enjoyable benefit.

For more on heart healthy exercise:

Heart Rate Monitors and Exercise
Basic Guidelines for Aerobic Exercise
Safely Exercising with Atrial Fibrillation