Group Fitness Classes Found to Have Mental Health Benefits

The physical benefits of exercise are well known, but working out also has major advantages when it comes to mental health—especially when it’s performed in a group setting.

Valley Cottage, NY — (ReleaseWire) — 03/10/2022 — When we talk about the benefits of exercise, we tend to think of the physical outcomes: weight loss, a healthier heart, increased strength, and reduced risk of disease. However, there is substantial evidence to suggest that people aiming to improve their mental health could also consider working out as an effective method.

The American Psychological Association has stated that regular exercise can have a positive impact on mood and wellbeing due to the release of “happy” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that it provokes.

Beyond the emotional aspects, exercise also has the power to improve cognitive functioning in the mind. By increasing blood flow to the brain, working out increases gray matter and develops greater brain plasticity. This can be a protective factor when it comes to age-related cognitive decline.

People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience mental health problems, and an active lifestyle can also contribute to the successful treatment of common disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Group Fitness Classes and Mental Health

As lockdown measures have ended, in-person workouts at the gym have resumed, and there has been a renewed interest in the possibilities of group exercise. There has been speculation regarding whether fitness classes would remain relevant in a post-pandemic world where people have become accustomed to working out alone.

A recent study undertaken by the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association would suggest that they will. It’s focus was analyzing the benefits of group fitness classes as opposed to solo sessions.

This research found that people who participated in group fitness classes reported less stress than those who exercised alone. More physical, emotional, and mental health benefits were experienced by participants who worked out in a social atmosphere.

Researchers have speculated that this may be due to the meaningful connections that can be nurtured in a community atmosphere. In a group setting you may also be more likely to smile and laugh, which releases endorphins.

Additionally, the study noted that the type of music played during a class could have an impact on the benefits experienced by participants. This furthers the idea that creating a positive and dynamic environment for exercise could maximize its effects.

For those trying to decide whether to continue working out alone at home or whether to rejoin their old group fitness class, this research is a highly persuasive argument for the latter.

It proves that working out in a group brings significant benefits beyond the positive physical and mental health outcomes that are generally associated with exercise.

Trends in Group Fitness Classes

Aerobics, one of the pioneering group fitness classes, continues to attract a loyal audience in 2022. Some of the other popular group fitness classes include yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT), which includes branded regimens like CrossFit.

Spinning remains a sought-after group fitness activity despite the phenomenal success of Peloton, whose internet-connected stationary bikes combine with live-streamed classes so that owners can participate in spinning classes from home.

However, given the online community associated with Peloton, this could arguably be described as a group fitness class of a different kind.

Knowing that an uplifting soundtrack to a workout also has the ability to positively impact mood, it’s no surprise that Zumba, which rocketed to popularity worldwide in the early 2000s, is still a hotly-demanded group fitness class. Zumba is a cardio exercise inspired by energetic Latin rhythms like salsa and merengue.

Post-pandemic, Glofox has identified cutting-edge trends in group fitness classes. These include trapeze and trampoline-based workouts as well as retro-inspired exercise classes using roller skates or weighted hula hoops. TikTok has been credited with popularizing these forms of exercise with a brand new audience.

Additional Benefits of Group Fitness Classes

The connection between group fitness classes and improved mental wellbeing has now been proven; however, there are other advantages associated with this form of exercise.

One is that exercising in a group can increase commitment to a workout. This could be attributed to the Koehler Effect— the idea that nobody wants to be the worst performing in a group—which drives participants to work harder in a social setting.

From a less competitive angle, the camaraderie and the sense of a shared mission that participants experience in a group fitness class can also be a motivating factor.

For example, a participant considering missing a class can be inspired to attend by the prospect of spending time with their classmates. They feel more accountable to persist in their exercise regime as a result of their relationships.

Another advantage of a group fitness class when compared to a solo at-home workout is that spotters are on-hand to check each exercise is performed correctly. This can help avoid physical injury while maximizing the impact of each movement.

Given the unique advantages that participants enjoy in group fitness classes, we can expect them to persist in popularity despite an increase in online and at-home workouts.

About Rising Legends Academy of Fitness
Rising Legends Academy of Fitness is a New York gym offering group fitness classes and personal training services to clients who want to fulfill their potential, refine their bodies, and live healthier, more active lives.

Our dynamic team consists of qualified coaches of diverse experience who are enthusiastic about guiding clients of all abilities throughout their fitness journey.

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