• Phil Murray

The Benefits of Group Fitness



Chances are at some point a friend has invited you to a yoga class, a spinning class, or any other class that they may regularly take part in. If you go to a gym, or even drive by one, there are class schedules posted on the wall and posters outside for the classes being promoted making you wonder if you should join.


This is group fitness. Any exercise that takes part in a group setting falls in this category – cardio, strength, stretching, it can all be turned into group fitness. These classes are usually led by a trainer or instructor, but they don’t have to be, group fitness can be as simple as you and a few friends meeting in the park to jump rope and go for a walk.


Group fitness entails all the expected benefits of any other fitness and exercise, such as getting your heart rate up and getting stronger, but there are more benefits to consider as well when you are deciding whether or not to sign up for a group class yourself.


Let’s look at some of the signs that group fitness may be right for you and explore a few of the benefits to be gained.


1.) Getting bored easily.


Something that happens often in fitness is boredom. While we will always tell you that consistency over a long period of time garners the greatest results, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard to stay engaged and focused sometimes.


Group fitness is a great way to combat this. By joining in group fitness, you will be combating boredom in a few ways:


· Group fitness will give you variety by adding a new exercise activity to your week.


· Group fitness comes with a social side as you will meet new people and can chat about the workout or just life in general before, after, and sometimes even during the exercise.


· Group fitness will engage your competitive side by seeing others around you doing the same exercise and will make you want to keep up and do the best you can.


All of these factors will zap any boredom you feel from going on the same jog or lifting the same weights over and over again. Now it should be said that doing those things regularly and often are where you will see the biggest gains. But by mixing in a group fitness class here and there it will bring new and exciting settings to your fitness journey.


2.) Looking for instruction.


If you are to the point in your own routines where you feel like you need some guidance on doing things right or in setting your expectations, then group fitness could be perfect for you to try.


Getting a personal trainer will certainly help with giving you instruction, but it can also come with a higher price tag and a bigger commitment. At some point in your journey this may be right for you and will bring the personal design to your fitness that we all need. However, if at this time you are looking for a smaller step to take, then group fitness can fill these holes for you to start as well.


The instructor of a group fitness class can assist you in setting expectations for what you are working on as well provide an experienced eye on your exercise to give advice and keep you on the right path when exercising.


Group fitness will give you similar benefits to personal training on a smaller scale and will be a little gentler on your pocketbook.


3.) Accountability.


We have all got up with the intention of starting the day off with a little workout routine and maybe even getting some exercise in after you finish a hard day’s work as well. But we all know how that goes, you hit the snooze button, or the stress and fatigue of the workday makes it all too tempting to put your personal workouts off until tomorrow.


By signing up for a class you have now placed your exercise into your calendar. Others, be it the instructor or your classmates, are expecting you to be there and will hopefully check in on you if you skip the session. Making it a lot more likely that you prioritize being present to your commitment.


Remember, this is a commitment to yourself more than anyone else, having a group of others with the same life and struggles as you will make it so much easier to keep your end of the deal.


4.) Fun.


Anyone who says that they don’t have fun joining a group fitness class is either a maniac fitness junkie (I say that in the kindest way possible) or using that as an excuse to avoid making effort (*hand raised*) like I did for a long time.



Joining a team of others taking steps in their own journey that aligns with yours is a beautiful way to meet your goals through community. You will build relationships, be pushed to do more, find encouragement, and hopefully find some laughs to lift you up on a struggling day.


No one has this all the way figured out, when you join in group fitness that will be put into perspective for you. When you can’t bend in the way the instructor does, they will let you know that is okay and probably even give you smaller steps to work on in the meantime. You can look around and see many more with the same hills to climb, you can connect with them and celebrate each other’s wins along the way.


CONS


Now there are a few cons to group training, and we should recognize that those exist and understand that group fitness can’t meet every need along your fitness journey. We will highlight a few so that your expectations are in a good place and you can prepare to reap the benefits of group fitness without getting frustrated.


· No individualized programming.


When it comes to fitness, everyone starts in a different place and has different priorities and goals. Where a personal trainer can take the time to understand you in those areas and design a program that fits you personally, group training can’t do this to that high of a level.


While, yes, you will find motivation and comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in many challenges, group fitness must be generalized to allow all participants to get benefits out of the class. Taking time to assess yourself and what you can be doing throughout the week to meet your personal goals is crucial. If done thoughtfully, group fitness can be an incredible compliment in those efforts.


· Attention to detail.


One of the benefits of group fitness is that it helps you get out of the house and exercise in a place that is accepting of what you can do because you are likely not the center of attention. This can also be one of the cons to group fitness because the instructor does not have the ability to give each participant the ideal amount of personal attention.


If you are doing an exercise that is new to you the form and detail can sometimes be a little off and will not always be corrected. It is helpful to ask questions during the class if it is allowed, or at the very least after the class is over you can bring up a question to the instructor or another classmate.



· Class fit.


There are countless different types of classes geared for people of different abilities. In order to get the most out of the class you are signed up for, you will want to make sure you are in the class best suited for you.


Group Fitness classes can range from a team sport to a weightlifting session, or water aerobics to triathlon training. You can imagine how being in a group that is above your fitness level or in an area that you are not interested in could impair your ability to benefit from the class.


Imagine being in a wrestling class when you have no interest in the sport or joining a running group where everyone is much faster than you. It is so important to consider the class fit and make sure you join a class that is right for you!


Wrap up.


Group fitness can be loads of fun, they can push you to go a little harder than you would by yourself, bring you to meet new people, and provide some ever-so-important accountability. It is worth considering if you are in a place to add a group fitness class to your week and reap some of these benefits.


Always remember that your fitness journey is as personal as you are. Group fitness alone does not meet everyone’s personal needs in the way that a well-designed fitness plan can meet your needs, but it will compliment your efforts and be an excellent addition to your healthy lifestyle.


For more great conversation on this topic, tune into Simple(ish) Fitness Podcast where we chat about how group fitness can fit into your life the best!



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