Whether you’ve just joined your local gym or been a member for years, you may not have tried a group fitness class yet. Maybe you’re used to lifting on your own, or you’ve stuck to a familiar workout like running around the track each day. Both of those workouts are great, but why not challenge yourself to something new?
When you exercise with others (whether in person or through a virtual class), you’ll work hard, form friendships, and keep coming back for more. Check out these five benefits of going to a group fitness class — even if it’s online.
Group fitness classes are a great way to shake up your routine if you’re bored with your current workouts. From aquaerobics to Zumba, your gym has lots of options that let you work on your cardio, strength training, and flexibility. You can attend the same class several times a week, or mix it up each day to find a new favorite!
Besides having plenty of classes to choose from, you’ll have access to helpful instructors. Group fitness classes are open to people of all fitness levels, so it’s okay if you don’t have much experience in the workouts you’ve chosen.
One of the best parts of group fitness classes is getting to know other gym members — whether that’s in person or through a social media chat. Everyone is there for the same reasons: to work out, to meet new people, and to have fun while sweating it out. This shared purpose naturally builds camaraderie, especially when you make the class part of your weekly (or daily) routine.
Attending a workout with others will also keep you accountable and motivate you. Your new friends want to see you in class, and knowing this will get you to join them (at the gym or online) more effectively than if you relied on yourself to make it there. Plus, having teammates cheer each other on is fun!
When exercising with others, friendly competition makes you want to keep up with those around you. A recent study proved this when researchers observed a group of people doing core work, specifically planks. They found that those who exercised with a more advanced partner held their planks for 53 seconds longer than people who planked on their own.
Need more proof? A Kansas State University study found that working out with someone we think is better than us may increase our exercise time and intensity by 200 percent. While group fitness classes are for all abilities, being around other committed exercisers will make you push yourself harder. And even if you’re taking an online fitness class, just knowing that others are working out at the same time (and counting on you to show up as part of the virtual community) can motivate you.
Once you get into the routine of going to class every day or week, you won’t want to stop! Part of the reason is that working out with others involves consistency and commitment. When you cancel or don’t show up to a class, your friends will notice. And like we mentioned before, your instructors and classmates want to work out with you!
What’s more, exercising with others releases even more endorphins than solo workouts. An Oxford University study featured athletes rowing on their own and rowing with a team, for 45 minutes each. Researchers found that the rowers released more endorphins (feel-good chemicals that reduce pain) when exercising together. It all goes to show that when you work out with a fun group of people, you can’t help but enjoy yourself.
Many people join gyms to find a community while working out, and that’s exactly what group fitness is for! These classes are open to all members, so you can try out as many as you’d like:
As of April 2020, we’re offering several great fitness classes online, including:
Working out alone just doesn’t work for everyone. With group fitness classes (even online ones), you have the freedom to find a workout that fits your schedule, meets your needs, and makes exercise fun!
The Lafayette Family YMCA is a community dedicated to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.