When was the last time you changed your fitness routine, stepped out of your comfort zone, tried a new class format or even participated in a group class?
Changing your routine and joining group classes can do amazing things for your mind and body. As humans, we are programmed to want to be around others. We play in groups when we are children, are influenced (for better or worse) by our friend groups as teens; so why do we (somewhat) lose that camaraderie as we get older? What better way to “play” with our friends than a group fitness class?
Many people not familiar with group fitness classes will immediately flash back to the 1980s – the days of high impact “aerobics,” Olivia Newton John leg warmers, and thong leotards. But, oh, how we have changed! Tanja Djelevic, MS, a health coach and personal trainer based in Los Angeles states, “While it was good for getting people moving, it did little to address the mind-body connection of exercise. Now we understand more about how physical activity stimulates the brain’s emotional center and affects overall wellness. Today, the best classes foster camaraderie, stress relief and emotional intimacy, in addition to an effective workout. The best instructors know that to keep people coming back, they need to nurture not just the body, but the mind and spirit, too.”
According to lesmills.com, “… group fitness is the most powerful way to get the motivation, inspiration and results you are looking for.”
Why should you even consider trying group fitness?
- There are lots of people who can get out of bed in the morning and exercise on their own before work or school, and still others who have the discipline to jump on the treadmill or elliptical alone in the evening. But, making plans to meet friends and taking a class together can inject much-needed variety into your program. Whether you take Body Pump, Barre, Cycle, or yoga, every class has its own flavor that can keep exercise fun and keep you interested enough to keep coming back for more.
- Safety and Effectiveness. Group classes are designed specifically to work a range of skills: yoga trains flexibility, kickboxing improves agility, Pilates and Barre work core, Body Pump builds strength; the list goes on. Instructors are specifically trained to offer options for all levels of fitness so everyone can work out at the intensity best suited to them. Progressions in strength, cardiovascular capacity, and flexibility start to improve after only a few weeks, and that makes it all worthwhile!
Jean Fain, LICSW, MSW, a Harvard Medical School–affiliated psychotherapist and author of The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight with Loving-Kindness (Sounds True, 2010), has studied the physical and emotional benefits of social support and exercise. “Walking into a class, having people smile at you, groove to the same music, perform the same exercises and sweat alongside you can instantly make you feel less alone in the world” she says. “This is the realization that you don’t have to tackle life’s challenges alone.”
Working out in a group gives you the confidence and support you need to unleash yourself – to enjoy your experience so it becomes addictive! Group exercise suits all fitness levels, no matter how fit you are. You’ll gain strength from exercising with others and you’ll motivate each other to work harder, and push yourself just a little more.
Beginning July 8, experience a variety of sampler classes, specialty classes, and temporary changes to the group fitness schedule, and experience something new. Do you take Cycle classes regularly, but have yet to try RPM or Sprint? Now is your opportunity! Are you a Body Pump person, but haven't tried Body Attack or CXWORX? Go for it! Check out the schedule for the club of your choice on MotionVibe.