As a health and exercise professional you are well aware that group training can have a significant impact on your ability to achieve well-known goals such as maintaining a healthy weight or increasing muscle mass. Exercise increases neurotransmitters such as dopamine or cannabinoids. This helps to enhance feelings of pleasure and reduce physical discomfort. Exercise in a group setting provides an increasingly important social element that fosters community and connection. Whether it’s the words of encouragement from an instructor or simply being caught up in the music and energy of other participants, here are 10 ways that group fitness can contribute to emotional wellness.
1. Music can immediately have a positive effect on emotions and feelings.
Lauren George is a Mississippi-based ACE certified personal trainer and co-creator the Barre Above group exercise program. He knows that music can help create a positive experience. Music can evoke emotion and is very powerful! It can transport us back to a time or remind us of someone we love, lift our spirits, encourage us to be more determined, and help us establish connections through shared experiences. She says that although my participants might not be able to recall the exercises they did, they can remember great playlists.
2. Exercise can be challenging and help you produce neurotransmitters and hormones that are vital for your emotional well-being.
Dr. Steve Durant is a Boston-based exercise specialist and sports psychologist who believes that group training plays an important part in altering body chemistry .. “I look forward to Saturday’s boot-camp with other older rugby players. Durant says that although we may look and feel like the Walking Dead, it provides a massive oxytocin and dopamine boost that also elevates testosterone. “All of which helps us to feel younger as we work our [tails] off
. Group fitness classes are a great social gathering.
Megan Rodham is a Northern Virginia pediatric nurse. She didn’t realize the importance of group fitness classes until she stopped attending them. She explains that she had been doing group workouts for many years, until her husband became sick. That’s when she stopped going to them. I miss the camaraderie and team effort, as well as the stretching. It was an integral part of my life. It was more than just exercise. It was a team. It was family .”
4. Both students and instructors benefit from the group experience.
Purnima, a group exercise instructor from Bangalore, India, said she has enjoyed both the instructor and participant benefits. “As someone who has been on both sides, as an instructor and participant, some of the emotional benefits I’ve experienced include feeling seen, valued and less alone on one’s fitness journey.” Plus, she says, “the energy from a group of people all working towards the same goal [in a class] can be contagious.”
5. Challenges can help you build self-confidence.
A challenging group workout can not only be good for your body but also help you to overcome any other challenges in life. Kelly Moore, ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and CEO at Fit Tech University says that exercise has a significant mental component. Participants will feel stronger and more capable of completing difficult workouts. This gives them the opportunity to use that experience for other life events .”
6. Exercise is a way to get away from screens.
Cori parks, a ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and Personal Trainer, who lives in Vienna (Va.), believes that group fitness provides a break from screens and technology. A group workout provides a valuable break from technology and screen time. Many participants love to disconnect from screens while still connecting with each other in real life 7. It can help with other aspects of your life.
Life can be stressful. Finding good service providers like mechanics, babysitters, or contractors can only increase the stress. David Mesirow, a certified ACE Group Fitness Instructor based out of Palm Springs, has been teaching group fitness classes for over 40years. It is amazing how group members become friends and share their recommendations for professionals, which can be a great stress relief. He said that he has seen people in groups share their recommendations for professional services such as hairdressers, babysitters, or real estate agents. This can make life easier. He believes that group exercise is especially important for older adults. For many older adults, going to the gym for a class is their only way to socialize with their peers 8. A strong community is built through group fitness.
Amy Connell is a Houston-based ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor. “The community element of group exercise is an immense benefit that can’t be quantified,” Connell says. Connell is also the author of Your Worthy Body: Freedom in Health by Breaking all of the Rules. “I have seen participants walk into classes not feeling their best. [but] Once the workout is over, it’s easy to see that they have changed their outlook. Although participants might not be familiar with each other, they feel like they are in the same boat and lift one another up during class .”
9. Group fitness can make a huge difference in your life.
Tasha LaShay, a ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor from Alabama, believes that group exercise has made a significant impact on her life. She explains that she was a working mom and had little time to myself. “I became depressed and gained weight. I didn’t care much about anything,” she says. Because I was so depressed, everything suffered, even my family. My whole life was transformed when I discovered a group fitness class I liked. I felt happier and more energetic every day. I enjoyed going to class and was happy to be back! My instructor was unable to teach my class due to personal reasons. It felt like the rug had been pulled from under me. Talking to my friends, who I met in the class and still talk to each day, I discovered that they needed the class for similar reasons. This is what inspired me to become a group exercise instructor. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the motivation I needed. It literally changed my life and I’ve never felt more excited or blessed.”
10. Your group exercise participants can become your extended family.
” When I was diagnosed with breast carcinoma, my group of fitness participants rallied around me to support me,” Lori Ann Vance from Vancouver, Wash, a ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor. Lori Ann Vance says that everyone in class wore pink shirts the day after she met with her surgeon. They supported me throughout the whole journey, not only did they love and support me but also provided support. Whether you are the instructor or a participant, seeing the same people in class week after week creates a real sense of community.”
Changing Lives One Drop of Sweat at a Time
Almost all instructors have experiences like these and get to witness first-hand how the dynamics of group fitness can change an individual’s emotional state almost immediately. A positive social experience for some people is the routine of attending a class with familiar faces and an instructor who knows them. Teaching group fitness is rewarding because you can make a difference in people’s lives.
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