Hop off the treadmill, take off your headphones and join a group fitness class for more than just the physical benefits.
We know all about the many benefits of movement: improved health, weight loss, a toned body. But what if you want a wider variety of additional benefits from movement that can help enhance other areas of your life?
In almost any health club in the world there are three primary, distinct spaces: The strength training areas, including both free weights and machines; the cardiovascular equipment; and the group fitness studios. One of those can truly help improve the non-workout related components of your life.
In the strength training and cardiovascular areas, while it is possible to work out with a friend most of the time, you are probably there on your own, most likely wearing a set of headphones that allow you to tune everyone else out. Stop and think about that for a moment: As human beings we are social animals; we crave interacting with other people. Over the past number of years there has been a dramatic shift in our society. We are doing more of our interacting through digital media, specifically our phones, than in real life. If we need a ride, we can punch a few buttons. If we want food delivered to us there are a number of different apps for that. Heck, even if we’re looking for an “intimate connection” all we have to do is swipe right. The point is that we’re in the process of narrowing our world into only a few, finite opportunities for interacting with other real-life human beings.
Our time is very limited and it can be a challenge to carve out the opportunity to meet and interact with others. So when you go to the health club, why would you limit yourself to working out in isolation? When you go to a health club it is a unique opportunity to expand your real-life social network while experiencing the greatest return on the investment of your workout time. How? By ditching the isolation mindset and participating in group fitness classes.
Group fitness not only provides the standard health-related benefits of movement, but also can be a great way to augment many aspects of your social life. If you’re used to working out alone in a room full of other people, here are six specific reasons why you may want to try adding a group fitness or studio class to your workout routine.
In this day and age of constantly being “on” and attached to our phones, taking a group fitness class is the one hour of the day you can totally focus on yourself and your needs. Shut your phone down, leave it in your locker and get reconnected with your body while doing a challenging, yet fun, instructor-led workout in a room full of others there for the same purpose.
Follow the leader
Group fitness classes provide an opportunity to let someone else be in charge; when working out on your own, it can be hard to know if you’re doing the right thing the right way. A group instructor is responsible for leading the workout and will tell you what to do as well as how to do it.
One of the most effective ways to make movement a regular habit is to do it with a friend who can help hold you accountable. Having plans to meet a friend at the health club so you can take a group fitness class together is one way to make sure you show up for your workouts. Knowing that a friend will be waiting for you at the club makes it more difficult to blow off a workout because you don’t want to let him or her down.
Expand your network
Are you in a new town or a different neighborhood and looking to expand your social circle and make new friends? Group fitness workouts are a great way to add to your real-life social network. Exercising with others is a great way to combine your workout time with your social time. As an instructor for almost two decades, I love watching regulars in my classes become good friends.
Why do so many people enjoy indoor cycling? Can downward facing dog really change your state of mind and mental outlook? Want to try the TRX, a piece of exercise equipment designed by a Navy SEAL? Many group fitness programs become popular because they are fun and deliver results. Taking classes is a great way to learn about the newest trends or experience the latest workouts.
Change it up
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. If you feel like you’re constantly doing the same workouts and not getting the results you want, the diverse GX24 schedule can have you doing a different workout each day of the week. You can plan a schedule that alternates between blissful mind-body workouts, intense athletic conditioning classes, challenging strength workouts and vigorous cardio workouts, like indoor cycling or Zumba, for a comprehensive program full of variety. That is a surefire way to bust out of any rut and achieve the results you want.
Yes, movement is important. But one main reason for joining a health club is to meet other like-minded fitness enthusiasts. If you join a health club for no other reason than to make new friends, then consider any health benefits you receive just a nice bonus.
On a personal note: My wife and I met when I started taking her indoor cycling classes a number of years ago, and yes, the primary reason I started going to classes was for the opportunity to get to know her. As a group fitness instructor, I have observed a number of strong relationships that develop between various participants. In my experience, people who sweat together like to spend time together doing other things like celebrating birthdays, promotions, weddings and births. I can’t guarantee that you’ll meet your future significant other in a group fitness studio, but I do know that it is a good place to start.
Interested in taking a GX24 class? Check out the schedule at 24 Hour Fitness.
The science behind why group training makes you healthier.
Photo credit: Bonninstudio, Stocksy