By our calculations, there are literally thousands of group fitness classes in and around New York City on a daily basis. There’s a group class for every purse and preference, from indoor cycling, to boot camp to barre; from boxing, to rowing to running; from yoga, to hip hop to HIIT. And that’s just to name a few!
In addition to discovering new ways to work out, through a group class you many also discover something you didn’t even know you were looking for: a community.Much research has been done on the notion of belonging to a community and the benefits that go along with it. We found research studies and writings on this subject from a wide variety of sources, all of which conclude essentially the same thing.
Participating in a group -- fitness or other group -- provides a sense of belonging, and social belonging not only helps us define who we are as individuals, it fosters other important aspects of our lives (Enayati, 2012). Exercising in group also contributes to sticking with an activity for longer (Nielsen et al., 2014). Members of a particular group feel a sense of connectedness to, and friendship with one another. They feel supported, motivated and encouraged (McPhate et al., 2016). And members of a particular group have shared experiences that help them develop a specific and common knowledge that’s unique to their groups’ interest.
From our perspective (and the researchers’), these are all wonderful things for the mind and the body.
It’s great to pursue new activities and great to belong to a group, so why not find your fitness community by trying a class or two that appeal to your fitness level, athletic interests and goals? Maybe it’s time for a new challenge, or time to find some like-minded souls.
Here are some recommendations -- based on our experience – for first timers at a group fitness class:
• Introduce yourself to the teacher before class begins, and let him or her know you’re new. You may get some extra attention, pointers and corrections during class (and you may very well need them).
• Listen carefully to instructions and look around the room to make sure you’re “on program.” Group fitness is about people doing the same exercise at the same time, so you don’t want to be doing your own thing. If you’ve lost track of the movements, take a look up front. Often the regulars are there and know what they’re doing.
• If something really hurts, don’t do it. No instructor wants a student to get injured – in fact, just the opposite. The teacher wants you to have fun, get a great workout and come back again. Some teachers will automatically provide modifications to exercises, but if not, don’t be shy, just ask.
• Maybe you liked the ambiance and exercises in a class, but some part of the class didn’t appeal. If that’s the case, you might want to try a different instructor. Don’t be afraid to ask front desk staff or other students about different teachers’ styles, levels of challenge, and/or even their playlists.
• It sometimes takes a few classes to “get the hang of things,” so don’t be too harsh on yourself about your first-time performance.
• Lastly, if you feel intimidated, haven’t found what you’re looking for in a group class, or want something more specific, think about organizing your own group class! Most fitness professionals would be happy to tailor workouts to your groups’ skill level, interests and needs. We know we would!
If you wish to have a fitness class in for your office to stimulate comradery, relief stress, increase productivity, have fun, and burn some calories together, send us an email today to book your consultation.