Around the world, one in four adults doesn’t meet the recommended level of physical activity to stay healthy. The recommendation is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.
Are you meeting those goals?
Whether you’re getting back into healthy habits and exercising again, or you’re looking for an exciting way to spice up your regular routine, group fitness classes make a great option.
There are many benefits to fitness classes. Signing up can keep you motivated and give you new exercise buddies, plus you can make new connections. Here’s what you’re missing and why you should give them a try.
1. Group Fitness Classes Keep You Motivated
Remember those days when you received a gold star or a little note on your assignments when you were a kid in school? As we get older, we receive fewer messages of encouragement and praise. And yet, those notes and phrases give us a boost of confidence and more motivation.
It’s scientifically proven that humans aren’t just motivated by monetary rewards but also by social rewards like approval.
When you exercise by yourself, there’s no one there to cheer you on. One of the benefits of exercising with others is that they’ll compliment you on your progress or encourage you to push further.
Group fitness classes take that one step further. An instructor will teach you how to make the most of your workout, give advice on form and position, and give you encouragement when you’re doing great.
When you’re getting tired or having difficulty finishing another rep, an instructor can give you the push you need to power through. Plus, your peers in class can offer additional praise and encouragement. It’ll give you the motivation you need to keep going.
2. It Holds You Accountable
Finding accountability is a major obstacle for many people trying to stay fit. They might say they’re going to exercise every day, take a walk, hit their treadmill, or turn on the fitness videos on YouTube. And yet, after a day at work, crashing on the couch and binging Netflix sounds more appealing.
So the sneakers sit in the closet, and the treadmill becomes a place to toss extra clothes.
It’s tough to hold yourself accountable when goals like losing a few pounds or exercising more are so intangible and loosely defined. The consequence of not exercising for a day may not feel like much.
When you sign up for a fitness class, you’re essentially making a promise you’ll show up. If you don’t, you might disappoint your peers and the instructor, not just yourself. Plus, you’re paying for the class, so by not going, you’re losing money.
These extra motivators can provide the push you need to put on your workout clothes and head out the door.
3. It Improves Your Confidence and Self-Esteem
Exercising can provide you with a feeling of accomplishment, especially the more you go and the more endurance and strength you build. You’ll see little changes over time, such as being able to exercise for longer without feeling winded or improving flexibility.
Whether you sign up for yoga classes or Zumba, you’ll have a blast working out with others, and the more you go, the better you’ll get at those moves.
Attending fitness classes and exercising work wonders for your confidence and self-esteem. It improves your mental health as well as your physical health. In fact, exercise can significantly improve anxiety or depression symptoms.
You’ll be happier and healthier, which should empower you to keep it up and sign up for additional classes.
4. It Helps With Weight Loss
When people begin exercising, it’s usually to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle. And physical activity can help people lose weight or control their weight.
Some of the latest data from the CDC shows us that obesity prevalence is at 41.9% in the United States. Obesity increases the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even types of cancer. In addition, obesity leads to higher medical costs.
Even a little exercise is better than none at all. And while those that are out of shape or haven’t been active for a while might struggle to get back into the habit at first, the more they go, the easier it gets. As we continue to exercise, we strengthen our muscles, build endurance, improve flexibility, etc.
How much exercise does it take to lose weight?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it takes 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week to reduce body weight by 5% or more. If you want to improve your results even more, it’s critical to pair this with a healthy diet.
5. Exercise Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Health experts agree that exercise is one of the best methods to help reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, pain, inflammation, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and high cholesterol. Also, getting enough physical activity can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and more.
In addition, exercise improves your mood and helps with depression, anxiety, and stress. Working out increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Dopamine is also known as the “feel good” hormone, and it’s released when you do things you enjoy.
If you enjoy running, your brain will boost dopamine levels as you lace up your sneakers and head out the door. This increase in feel-good chemicals will motivate you to keep it up in the future.
Exercise not only lowers your risk of developing certain health conditions, but it can help you manage any symptoms you already experience. The more physically active you are, the healthier you’ll feel.
6. You’ll Build New Friendships
Going to the gym is mostly a solitary activity. You might watch TV as you run on the treadmill or listen to music as you lift weights, but you’re usually alone. Getting a workout buddy has a lot of benefits, as they can encourage you to exercise more, hold you accountable, and offer praise.
What’s better than one workout buddy? A whole group of peers with similar goals as you. That’s what group fitness offers.
Let’s say you’ve recently moved to a new place and you don’t know many people yet. Signing up for a group class gives you a chance to meet new people, make connections, and build friendships. You’ll form bonds with everyone and look forward to your sessions.
Working out no longer becomes a chore but something on your schedule you can get excited about.
Another benefit is that you might meet people that open up new opportunities for you. They might suggest great places to take a walk, other exciting exercise classes you might want to sign up for, and so on.
If you’re more of an introvert or nervous about taking a class, don’t worry! The instructor is there to assist and encourage people of all fitness levels, even beginners. No one is there to judge you, and you’ll likely meet new friends and like-minded individuals.
7. You Can Find a Class for All Ages
There are so many fitness class options these days that it’s easy to find one that aligns with your current level and age. For example, there are plenty of senior classes that focus on helping older adults improve balance, range of motion, and strength.
Low-impact exercises led by qualified instructors help seniors stay fit and healthy. It also provides other benefits, such as allowing you to meet others and build friendships, which can help with feelings of loneliness.
Seniors living alone often experience long periods where they may not speak to friends, relatives, or neighbors. This can contribute to feelings of loneliness or even depression. However, taking a group fitness class allows them to interact with others and meet new people.
Regardless of your current fitness level, you can find benefits by taking an exercise class. The instructor will help you through certain movements or advise you on how to make a move easier through certain adjustments.
8. You’ll Make Exercise a Habit
There are a lot of variables that affect how long it takes a person to form a new habit. However, the consensus is that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days.
The key to forming any new habit is regularity. You want to perform the same action at the same time each day. For instance, if you want to start a habit of walking before work each morning, you might wake up at the same time to get in a 30-minute stroll before you have to get ready for the day.
You’ll have to do this every day for anywhere from 18 to 254 days for the new habit to stick.
There’s a lot that can get in the way of forming habits and healthy living. You might get sick, or the weather might not be great for exercising. All these factors will impact the timeline it takes to form that habit.
Taking a fitness class makes forming a habit much easier. You’ve already committed to it, the class is on your schedule, and you’ve paid for it. You’re accountable, so you’re more likely to go.
The more often you go, the easier it will be to make exercising at that time each week a habit. Soon, it’ll be another regular part of your weekly routine, and you won’t have to force yourself.
When physical activity becomes a regular habit, you’re more likely to keep with it, which means you’ll receive all the benefits and stay healthy.
9. There Are Tons of Exercises to Try
If you’re not interested in yoga or pilates, maybe you’ll have more fun taking a cycling class. Cycling, also known as spinning, involves using stationary bikes and focuses on endurance with high-intensity exercises that tone muscles and burn calories.
Spin sessions are a popular form of cardio exercise that’s also perfect for beginners. The instructor will take you through various speeds, resistance modes, and interval training, all while listening to great music.
Whatever form of exercise you think you might be interested in, there’s a class out there for you. If you sign up for one class and it’s not for you, there are always others you can try. You might even find a few new favorites.
When you finally find a class that you love, exercise no longer feels like something you have to do. It becomes a fun activity that you look forward to each week. Whether it’s a way to relax and stretch or blast the music and burn some serious calories, it’s all good for living healthily.
Plus, you can encourage your friends and family to join if you find a class you love. That way, you can help them get healthy too, and strengthen your bond.
10. It Reduces Stress
It might surprise you to find out that exercising can actually help you to relax. Physical activity has the ability to exhilarate and provide stimulation as well as create a sense of calm and well-being, which can reduce symptoms of depression and lower stress levels.
Physical activity reduces the release of the body’s stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and it increases glucose levels in the blood. When someone deals with chronic stress, their hormone levels stay unbalanced, keeping the stress response system activated.
Chronic stress can lead to issues such as depression, anxiety, headaches, body pains, sleep problems, weight gain, and more.
However, regular exercise can help you reduce those stress levels. If you want a truly relaxing exercise class, consider taking up yoga, which also teaches proper breathing exercises.
Ready to Start Getting Healthy?
These are only some of the many benefits you’ll see when you sign up for group fitness classes. Not only will you form connections and start to feel healthier, but you’ll have fun along the way.
If you’re ready to find a class here in Alexandria, Virginia, check out what we have to offer at Results Fitness. We have plenty of fitness classes for all ages and skill levels. Send us a message to learn more about our gym or to get a free pass and see for yourself!