The Power of Group Fitness
If you have ever taken group fitness classes you know how addicting they are. But did you know that it could help improve your emotional well-being and reduce stress? A 2017 study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association which studied the effect of a minimum of just one Les Mills CXWORX class on medical student’s stress levels and emotional well-being vs exercising alone and no exercise at all. 1 They found that the group participating in a least one 30-minute group fitness class per week had a significant decrease in their perceived stress. The study concluded that “Attending weekly group fitness classes could be a solution to improving the emotional well-being and stress level of medical students.”
This comes as no surprise to me. I started taking group fitness classes in 2001 while in school for Chemistry at UMASS Dartmouth. In 2003 when I graduated and was working long days in R&D, I joined my local gym and started taking Les Mills BODYPUMP and RPM. I met so many amazing people in class and grew to look forward to seeing them and the instructors. I would prepare for a long day with a 5am class, or shake off a really stressful day with a 6pm class. Nothing made me feel better than getting my endorphins going and letting all the stress go.
There is just something about going into a room full of people, pumping some great music and working out together. Never once having to worry about what movement to do next or how much weight to use. All that information is provided for you, all you have to do is follow along and put the effort in. Before you know it, your body is stronger, you feel amazing and the best part is you were too busy looking forward to seeing your friends or your favorite instructor or hearing your favorite song that you didn’t even notice how challenging class was until you are walking out on exhausted and shaky legs!
This might not even be the best part. In a study by Dr. Melvyn Hillsdon and TRP they were able to show that people who participate in group fitness stay gym members longer than those who just use the gym floor. I have seen this first hand. In my 17 years participating in and teaching group fitness classes I have worked at many gyms and every single one had one thing in common, “regulars”. Consistency in who was coming to class. Years and years of teaching a Thursday 5:15am BODYPUMP class or a 9am RPM class and guess what- I would render to guess that 80% of the class was the SAME week after week, year after year. When you find something that works, is a ton of fun and gives you a wonderful social outlet, you stick with it!!
We all know that exercise is good for us and we know that we should do it daily. However, it can be daunting trying to figure out what to do and how long to do it for. It can feel impossible to stay consistent and on track. Even when we have a plan it can be boring alone or you may be easily distracted. One minute you are executing your workout plan and the next minute you’ve wandered off to tackle the laundry pile you couldn’t stop thinking about. So why not meet some fun new friends and have someone else guide you along.
Fitness Manager, The GYM @ Milford
NASM-CPT and longtime group fitness lover!
1 - Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of
Dayna M. Yorks, DO; Christopher A. Frothingham, DO; Mark D.
2 - What Impact Does Group Exercise Have on Retention?