Had an experience yesterday morning that made me think. I was stretching after my regularly-scheduled exercise routine (deadlifts, split squats, lat pull-downs, bicycling intervals, etc.) My position against the wall outside the group exercise class room meant that anyone leaving the room would walk right past me. There had been a new class in there that morning--some kind of high-intensity interval training sort of class--and one lady, an older woman, had stayed afterwards to speak with the instructor about her physical limitations. As she walked past me, she piped up.
"You're welcome to join us," she said, brightly.
"No thanks," I replied, smiling, "I'm good with my weight lifting."
I found it interesting to note that the class had been full of women, and here I was, another woman, being invited into the class. I'm going to make a generalization here: most women like doing things in groups. They get a sense of camaraderie and support. For a woman who's not very partial to exercising, who hasn't yet solidified within herself all the fabulous reasons to exercise, it can be a boon to have group exercise classes.
However, I prefer to exercise alone. Sure, I have been know to do things in teams, but even then I was working on my own while there were teammates around me. We'd call out encouragement at each other and such, and I'd be quietly bemused by the weird exercise routines the guys would come up with. Weight lifting: pumping iron by myself. Running: cruising the trails by myself. Perhaps it's an introvert thing--I like having the quiet time to stay in my own head. (Plus, I don't love it when other people slow me down.)
Which way is best? You and I both know that the best way to exercise for a particular person is under the conditions which encourage them to exercise. You may like best to run with a group, while I prefer to stay quiet and solo. We're both running, though, and that's what really matters.