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– Group Exercise: Together Is Better

Group Exercise: Together Is Better

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I had never done Yoga before, but she said she’d pay for me to go, so I thought – why not? My doctor told me that I had the “flexibility of an average man,” so I wasn’t hopeful to begin with. She reassured me that we would laugh at ourselves if we couldn’t do all of the stretches. I felt comfortable trying a new exercise with her, even if I knew that I would make a fool out of myself. So, I went.

Group Fitness classes are everywhere starting from TRX to Yoga to HIIT. But what is it about them that makes them so popular? People are flocking to group exercise programs in the early morning, during the lunch hour, even over the weekend. I didn’t want to go to Yoga. The thought of doing something that I didn’t feel like I could physically accomplish, scared me. Yet, I still went. Why?

the challengeGroup exercise proves to be so beneficial because of the challenge it poses. In group settings, friends and acquaintances can challenge and push us to regularly exercise and try new things. Psychologically, we are peer pressured into doing activities with others even when we don’t want to, such as working out. Most times, we need others to motivate us to exercise in order to accomplish our goals. The more we attends group exercise classes and work out, the more confident we will be become in our ability to overcome physical challenges. We just need that little push to get us started.

the encouragement

The social encouragement that group exercise offers is extremely beneficial, as well. According to an article by healthywomen.org, Get Motivated: The Workout You Won’t Cancel, James J. Annesi, Ph.D. and the Director of Wellness Advancement at the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta states, “When you find a group that you feel comfortable with…you’ll stay with the exercise.”

We are social beings. When others give us a reason to stay and exercise, it is more likely than not that we’ll stay. In fact, the social aspect of exercise is more important than we think. Annesi tells us that “having a conversation while exercising dissociates you from the discomfort of the activity.” So, when our minds aren’t focused on the physical task at hand, we are likely to continue exercising because we remember the conversations we had more than the exercise!

the friendships

Group exercise can also help form friendships. If you don’t have a friend like I did who pushed me and challenged me to try a group exercise class with her, no problem! The benefit of going to group exercise classes is the opportunity to cultivate new friendships and meet people that you would have never met before. In addition, the people you meet will all have a commonality: you’ll be achieving the same goal, together. Group exercise provides an avenue for camaraderie, whereby individuals feel connected by doing the same activity together. So if you don’t have a friend who will push you or encourage you to start attending a group exercise class, you can find one by attending yourself!

I was so glad to have gone to Yoga. Some stretches were too difficult for me, my balance was somewhat off, and my core strength was certainly lacking, but the very next morning my body felt renewed and much more flexible than it had the night before. My friend and I laughed at ourselves, tried new moves, and made memories, and for that reason, I would definitely go again.

The YMCA offers group exercise classes for all of the reasons listed above, and more. The organization recognizes the importance of healthy living as well as social connections. With areas of focus being healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility, the Y is focused on building up the community and encouraging them to live healthy, happy lives. The Y accomplishes these goals by providing group exercise classes for the community because they understand that it’s hard to do it alone.

A variety of group exercise classes are available at the Harrisburg Area YMCA branch locations. Visit the links below for more information!

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