GET TOGETHER FOR A BETTER Workout
Fitness expert Ruth Lynch reveals the benefits of group exercise
It’s september and that means one thing – back to school. But while digging out the kids’ PE kits, you might also want to dust off your own, as it’s not just children who can benefit from getting back to a classroom environment.
studies have shown that individuals of all ages who work out together in a group/class, can actually lower their stress levels by 26%, and experience greater perceived mental, physical and emotional health improvements than those working out alone.
If that wasn’t enough to get you wanting to be a group exercise groupie, here are a few more reasons why you might want to get involved with a class act this autumn.
MOTIVATION with MUSCLE
In 2010, stanford University conducted an interesting study which found that individuals without social support were less likely to forge lasting fitness habits.
The explanation behind this is essentially that we feel motivated by, and obligated to, others we exercise with, so are less likely to quit.
Certainly, at Life Leisure our longest-serving members are always those that have formed social bonds through group exercise.
The truth is, if you don’t want to do more exercise, you won’t.
The encouragement and shared camaraderie between group participants is very empowering in this respect and makes sure that ‘want’ is always there.
Also, you might get a friendly ribbing if you say you missed a class in favour of sitting on the sofa watching Corrie!
As WELL as keeping an eye out to make sure you are testing yourself, class instructors will ensure you have the best possible form when taking part in activities, checking that your body is in the right positions, and that you are going at the right pace etc.
This can significantly reduce the risk of injury and, of course, help you improve your performance.
But studies have also shown that being in a group actually boosts performance (and happiness) too.
As well as having team-mates on hand who can help spot ways you can improve, we naturally tend to ‘sync’ movements with those around us which, researchers believe, results in greater endorphin release. It really is a feel good factor for consideration.
Fun FOR ALL
ONE of the biggest reasons group exercise classes are so great is that there are so many different types.
From the more sedate world of yoga, Pilates and tai Chi, to the fast-paced fun of Bodycombat, Boxfit, Zumba and spin, the range of choice means there is always a class out there to suit an individual’s specific abilities, interests and motivations.
Also, many classes are now offered as tailored versions for different age groups – adult and youth hula hooping is a good example.
Boxercise, martial arts and gym circuit classes are also commonly adapted for age groups.
It’s a great way to cultivate shared interests with family members and motivate each other.
In fact the power of this is so strong that many providers now offer dedicated family classes where family groups can all take part in specific activities together.
It’s worth exploring.
SURPRISE YOURSELF (And your Body)
A BIT of what you fancy does you good, or so we are told. But when it comes to exercise too much of it can be detrimental to progress.
when exercising alone, we all have a tendency to ‘stick with what we know’ which can mean we do the same routine, exercising the same muscles, over and over. This can often result in a fitness plateau (and become a bit boring!).
while all exercise is good of course, surprising our bodies with new motions – in other words keeping our muscles guessing – results in a more balanced, and therefore improved overall workout.
Even if you attend the same class every week, a good group exercise instructor will always look at ways to mix things up and introduce new challenges to keep you, and your body, interested.
Find FRIENDS Through FITNESS Kids may inevitably dread going back to school after the summer holidays but there is one aspect they all look forward to: seeing and making friends.
The same is true with group exercise classes. As well as boosting your physical fitness and mental wellbeing, taking any class is a social affair and a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong friends. One leisure provider even found recently that one in ten of its members now live with someone they met through fitness! with so many amazing benefits, heading back to class this september could really be the start of something special.
A good group exercise instructor will always look at ways to mix things up
A spin class
hula hooping is great for all the family