Group fitness classes offer more than just a social gathering or a little hype surrounding workouts you would rather not be attending. Often just an hour of your time, the benefits of these classes can extend well beyond that time with psychological, economic, and physical pros you may have not considered. In fact, there are quite a few studies that suggest the social element of group fitness classes stand apart from the physical results and make them well worth the investment.
One study found that people who participate in group workouts tend to adopt the healthier behaviors of those they exercise with, while another notes that those who are overweight experience more significant weight loss if they socialize with a more fit community. In other words, the more time you spend around those who make fitness a priority, the more likely you are to adopt the same attitude and habits.
While signing up for a class—particularly one that charges a fee if you’re a no-show or cancel too late—can help some stick to their fitness commitments, studies also show that those who start a weight loss or fitness program are 95% more likely to commit to and complete it if they have others who are also committed to the program. In comparison, just 76% of those who commit alone will hit their goals. Further, maintenance of that weight loss is 42% more likely with those who work out with friends. Fitness class packages are a great way to find others who can help to keep you accountable, though working out with a partner can offer similar benefits.
Working out with other individuals whose fitness level may be a little above yours can trigger the Köhler Effect, which circles around the theory that we all push ourselves a little harder because we don’t want to be seen as the weakest in the group. This often leads to us pushing a little harder in group fitness classes, particularly if you’re working out with strangers. Suddenly, we get a little more competitive and attempt those couple extra squats, hold a plank a little longer, or add a couple extra pounds to our lifts to keep up with the group.
In the case that you might not be able to safely keep up with your classmates when first joining a class, it’s important to note that seeing others excel where you might not yet be able to keep up often acts as inspiration within a positive and encouraging environment. Seeing what others are capable of and what they may have overcome to get there can place a spotlight on your personal mental barriers. In fact, according to one study out of Kansas State University, participants who exercised with those they perceived to be better than them lengthened their active workout time and increased their intensity two-fold. In other words, we become inspired to reach their level and leap over personal mental blocks to get there.
Smiling helps to increase our natural endorphin levels and group classes tend to bring out a few smiles when we’re working out and laughing along with a group of people having just as much fun with fitness. By linking these positive social interactions with fitness, workouts become something we look forward to. Further, smiling through the tough moves and challenges can increase energy levels and motivate you to take it one step further. In the end, endorphin levels rise as a result of your workout and get an added boost with the positive relationships you form by being part of a community.
While it may be true that you perform the same workouts you might complete on your own, a fitness class lowers your risk of suffering a soft tissue injury. A significant part of a fitness instructor’s job is to ensure everyone in the class is executing the exercises in the right way and not lifting too much weight in comparison to their current fitness level. Your instructor can pinpoint your weak points while you observe the form of your classmates to ensure you’re performing each move safely and effectively. As a result, you avoid soft tissue injuries and are able to stick to a successful workout routine.
Muscle confusion keeps your body on its toes, ramping up metabolism and strengthening muscles as you go. Fitness plateaus can easily be reached when the body becomes used to certain exercises, requiring an increase in length, weight, intensity, or workout altogether to continue to see improvements and reach your weight loss or toning goals. Constantly researching new exercises or finding creative but safe ways to challenge your body can be time-consuming. Establishing variety by switching up group fitness classes is simple.
Finally, it’s important to point out that the investment for group fitness classes can actually be quite the deal! While working out alone may technically be free, if you were to opt for an experienced personal fitness trainer, your per-workout cost can easily be $80 or much more. In comparison, per-workout costs through group fitness classes often hover around $20 and may be even less if purchased in a package. Further, group fitness classes encourage commitment and accountability. While basic gym memberships can be as low as $10 per month, it’s easy to skip out on your workouts when your schedule gets busy or you’re feeling overly stressed and tired, eventually leading to an unused gym membership and $10 wasted each month you don’t go.
It’s important to consider the above benefits outside of the results you see on the scale. Not all fat can be targeted with exercise alone. No matter the number of classes you attend or the different types of workouts, some stubborn fat can still stick around—it’s only natural. While fitness classes can help to target excess weight, in the end, everyone’s body is different, meaning that you may not see the same results as your classmates. Comparison can become quite discouraging and may lead you to quite group classes, meaning you don’t see any benefits at all. Instead of taking on an all-or-nothing mentality and placing too much pressure on your fitness classes, consider aesthetic treatments that can complement your new healthy, active lifestyle, to firm up skin and eliminate stubborn fat.
From body shaping to cellulite reduction, non-surgical aesthetic treatments can help to destroy fat cells and increase natural collagen and elastin production within the skin, which improves elasticity, smoothness, and firmness. Utilizing targeted Multi-Polar Radio Frequency (RF) energy paired with Pulsed Electro Magnetic Fields (PEMF) and innovative VariPulse™ technology, Venus Legacy™ body shaping treatments deliver thermal energy deep below the skin’s surface to break down fat, resulting in reduced circumference and a smoother silhouette.
Similarly, cellulite reduction treatments pair the benefits of body shaping while kickstarting collagen and elastin levels to improve skin’s ability to conceal fat cells below the surface, resulting in smoother, firmer skin. Depending on your unique aesthetic goals and needs, each treatment plan can be customized to achieve the results you want.
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