You’re on your feet all day at work. You’re dragging kids here and there, you’re adventuring on weekends, you’re even hitting the elliptical on occasion. (It’s a rare occasion, but it happens, and you’re proud of that.) You should be proud, because staying active through the busiest, most demanding and stressful chapters of life is equal parts difficult and important. Kudos to you!
Often, though, you find yourself frustrated with the task. It feels like one more thing to check off the never ending to-do list that is your life. Sometimes you wish you could skip over the work part of the workout, and just get OUT! Take a break, have some fun, connect with some friends. You wish there was time to try something new, have a hobby for fun – like when you were a kid! You wish you could, but with the chores and the job and all the responsibilities you wish hadn’t come with the “freedom” of adulting, an occasional jog on the basement treadmill is all you can afford.
There’s this new gal in the PTA though, who talks about her dance class at the gym like it’s some kind of church… or, spa… or, recess! She goes on and on about how much fun it is, how it “restores her soul,” how her body and confidence and life have all changed since she started taking it. She’s got to be crazy, right? What could possibly be so much better about a dance class than an hour on the basement treadmill?
We’re so very glad you asked.
There is tremendous benefit to an occasional jog; don’t get us wrong! Any way in which you can safely and effectively afford to move your body on a regular basis is ultimately good for it and for you. In a fast paced world full of obligation, expectation and judgment pulling us in so many different directions though, it’s imperative we learn to get the most bang for our buck in any given self-care scenario. And in an exercise scenario? Group fitness is where it’s at.
- Monkey See, Monkey Do. A study published in the Journal of Social Sciences in 2010 concluded that group exercise participants tend to gravitate toward or mimic the behaviors of those around them. This indicates that while sure, we can all exercise on our own, doing it in a group setting is significantly more likely to push us out of our comfort zones and entice us to try something new. We’ve all heard someone suggest that we “shock” our bodies with a new exercise in order to “wake it up” to new results, right? There is certainly benefit to trying new things, and group fitness encourages that by its simple nature of community influence.
- Stronger Together. This isn’t just a party line at SHiNE Dance Fitness – it’s science! Studies show that group exercise participants don’t just mimic one another: they motivate one another. There is a measurable increase in both the output of energy (Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology) and time spent exercising (Society of Behavioral Medicine) when people exercise together.
- Love, Peace & Zzzs. According to the International Journal of Stress Management, “Exercising with someone may contribute to a calming effect due to the social aspects of the exercise experience. Exercising with others may increase tiredness due to increased competition or workload; that is, exercising with someone may create increased competition and expectations for performance.” In other words, working out with your friends fills you with a calming peace – and – pushes you to work out harder, leaving you feeling tired, accomplished, and ready for a good night’s sleep.
- Safety First! (Or last, in the case of this list… but not least!) A group fitness setting comes with an automatic safety net: Your instructor! Group Fitness Instructors who are trained and certified by highly accredited organizations such as ACE or AFAA are prepared to guide you through your workouts in the safest, most effective ways possible. While complete protection from accident or injury can never be assured, following the guidance of a trained professional when it comes to form, technique and practice will significantly increase your chances of success and safety.
So the next time that PTA mom talks about her dance class, instead of wondering what all the fuss is about, perhaps you could ask to tag along! You’ve always wished for just a little bit more out of your workouts, after all. Now you know: group fitness is where you’ll find it!