Group exercise instructors, take heart: Your leadership skills significantly influence participants’ attendance and effort. Australian researchers conducted a study to examine how an instructor’s ability to create a sense of community and group identity among class members affected both effort and attendance. The study examined 249 participants and instructors across a variety of group formats.

Data analysis showed that members’ feelings of group identification and comfort in a class were clearly linked with more frequent attendance and greater effort. In fact, these feelings mattered more than participants’ perceptions of their own competence. This indicates that group exercise instructors can boost activity levels by fostering positive group environments.

The study is in Psychology of Sport & Exercise (2019; doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101544).