By Zerline Hughes
Accountability. Strength in numbers. Teamwork.
You hear these words in school, at work, in your household, and you even hear them when it comes to your self-care routine.
A case in point: right now, I’m on Day 3 of this 10-day smoothie challenge. If I wasn’t recruited by my friend and she, too, wasn’t making this painstaking sacrifice, I may have been done at the end of Day 1. Seriously. But with her phone calls and texts of checking in, and us offering each other virtual pats on the back, surviving this detox is that much better. It’s all about togetherness.
I think the same about group fitness. How about you?
Though many appreciate and prefer working out on their own, studies show there are many benefits to including group fitness in your workout routine. In fact, one article reported that, “For some (but not all) people, finding workout buddies could help turn fitness into a pleasant addiction.” And even without the studies, I’m here to tell you working out among others brings a great sense of camaraderie (yes, even with strangers), tends to push you to your limits more (there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition), and provides you a cohort to commiserate with during class and celebrate with at the culmination of class.
In my Zumba classes, I often see people high fiving each other at the end of a routine because they made it through some tough arm movements. I also have a routine where we “compete” or challenge each other, while still urging attendees to “go ‘head!” Take a look at this video.
In other classes, like boot camp, attendees will often try to beat the time of another classmate, but at the same time tell him, “good job, you can do it.” At Flywheel, there’s the leader board where you’re racing your fellow flyers. Depending on your energy, or power, as they call it, you may be able to pedal fast enough to see your name on the board and even attempt to be fast enough to be the top flyer. Now, that’s pretty fun and motivating!
I don’t know about you, but when I’m circuit training alone at the gym, I could definitely use a cheerleader, someone to push me, give me accolades that will keep me going another few rounds. It’d be great to have someone around challenging me to pick up the 30 lb. weights to really test my strength. Sometimes, we’re simply not gonna do it by ourselves.
If you’re not already in a group fitness class, check out one or two. It can be water aerobics, toning, spin, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, pilates, barre, karate, boot camp, belly dancing … and the list goes on.
What’s your experience. Share why do you love (or hate) group exercise?