Allow me if you would to stand on my soapbox and sing the praises of the Group Exercise Class!
As a freelance fitness instructor for the past 16 years, and previously to that an avid class participant myself, I feel in a good position to do so. Any form of exercise, whether taken in a group setting or individually, is beneficial to our overall strength, flexibility, and endurance. The group exercise class has so many more benefits than just the physical gains.
It can appear daunting to consider joining an exercise class as a new participant. Members can feel that they ‘need to get fit first’, or that they don’t know anyone and would not know what do, where to stand, are not very coordinated. A good class instructor will ensure that the session is tailored to suit many levels of ability and fitness, ensure that new members are made to feel welcome, clear in what equipment they may need and the format of the class.
Once you have made that initial step into a studio and found a class you like (it might take a while of trying out many different classes), you soon find you are hooked and schedule the classes into your weekly routine, often feeling slightly perturbed if anything changes your plans and clashes with yr favourite classes!
This routine and class structure increases the likelihood of member adherence in an establishment, vital to run a profitable gym/studio.
I have seen so many valuable friendships born from meeting in a group exercise class. You are often striking up friendships with like minded people who share the same passion as yourself. The socialising continues outside the studio setting too. Coffee after a class, social events at Christmas and New Year and holidays together with their families!
One of the most striking group of friends I encountered was at a local gym I taught in for many years. They ran Aqua classes, and a strong, close-knit group of ladies formed a bond that was amazing to witness. They supported one another through the ups and downs of life, during the darkest times of bereavement and loss of partners and really were a lifeline to one another.
All this born from the group exercise class!
It cannot be denied that the group exercise class has amazing mental health benefits. I have had so many members come up to over the years telling me how important the classes are to them. How the class setting enables them to come in and ‘lose themselves’ in the music and the moment, switch off from all the troubles they may be facing in their personal life, and for that hour nothing else matters!
We as Instructors also benefit mentally from teaching Group Exercise. Whatever you may be experiencing in your personal life, for that hour of class you must wear your smile, motivate and encourage others and for that hour you too ‘lose yourself’.
So next time you walk past the studio door, stop, look at what your timetable has to offer, try a class and see where it could lead you!