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Group Exercise - May 25, 2021

Exercise is a huge part of my life. I love the feeling of empowerment and achievement that I get from lifting heavy weights in a gym session. When I’m lifting nothing else matters except me and that set of dumbbells, barbell or the like. Getting inside my headspace, forgetting about everything else and getting that serotonin hit. It’s awesome but although I love a good solo weight session, there is something missing.

That something is a group session with my community of gym buddies. There is nothing like the

feeling I get from doing a group session with my buddies.

- There’s the camaraderie of belonging to a group of like-minded people.

- There’s the competition (I know it’s not a competition but it’s just in the genes) Whether it’s keeping up with the person next to you or beating your own time/reps.

- There’s that nod or wink from someone who’s acknowledging your awesomeness (yep, ain’t I a superstar?!) and making you feel like you can conquer the world.

- There are the friendships made along the way that will extend past the gym walls. The support of your gym buddies simply lifts your mood and makes your day.

- And then there is the oxytocin you get from those high fives. The human touch has such a powerful effect on our mental wellbeing.

With the onset of Coronavirus to touch someone, shake hands, high five, hug or pat somone on the back has been restricted so connecting by being with people in group sessions can prove to be the closest to touching someone and the closest connection we have on any given day and so important to know you are not alone.

The type of group exercise you choose in entirely up to you. The options are endless – Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Cycle or any variety of aerobic classes are at your disposal. All making you feel more energised and balanced both in body and mind.

There is something for everyone, all levels of fitness/mobility, and if cost is a factor there are many community group classes available through local councils and Neighbourhood houses, reasonably priced in an environment that some may find a whole less intimidating than walking into a gym setting.

Group exercise not only builds friendships and a sense of community it also creates a supportive environment that can hold you accountable for showing up. Making that commitment to your peers means you will be there.

Being part of a community who allow you to be you, do you and just leave everything else at the door even if it’s just for 60 minutes does wonders for your headspace.

Learning how to move well helps you feel great, and the long-term benefits associated with moving your body as we age are endless. Think being able to go through the day at the age of eighty with the confidence to be able to tackle something as simple as walking up and down steps unassisted or getting up and down off the floor. Along with the confidence comes the mental wellbeing in our senior years. Being able to be independent, happy, capable and useful in life.

Research shows us that people who engage in group fitness classes experience decreased perception of stress levels and improved physical, mental and emotional quality of life. (1)

Evidence suggests that participants in group exercise are 70% more likely to adhere long term to their exercise regime (2)

(1) Dayna M. Yorks, Christopher A. Frothingham, Mark D. Schuenke. Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2017; 117 (11): e17 DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.140

Published – May 2017

(2) Adherence to community based group exercise interventions for older people: A mixed-methods systematic review


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