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From spin classes to running clubs, here’s why group fitness makes you stronger, faster, and better.

Avid runners enjoy the solitude of the sport. They thrive on connecting with nature while making peace with their thoughts. Or so it once seemed to be the case. More often than not, these days most runners are a member of a running club and not just beginners; seasoned pros are benefiting from the camaraderie that can be had from running en masse.

“Running clubs provide built-in friendly competition. If you pair yourself with a slightly faster runner, this will help you push yourself even on a bad day,” says Pam Mazzuca Prebeg, athletic therapist, personal trainer, and two-time half-marathon runner.

But the added benefits that come from training in a group aren’t limited to the sport of running and here’s. “Ego in a group setting will force you to train harder, allowing for greater improvement,” says Mazzuca Prebeg. But beyond our own inner self, here’s why getting physically active with a group is a better way to achieve your fitness goals.

KICK-START YOUR MOTIVATION

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Ever want to hit snooze and skip that workout? Yes, us too. But when you know a whole group of cyclists, yogis, or runners are getting together (some who may even feel like you do) you might think again. “It provides a sense of community and belonging,” says Mazzuca Prebeg.“It also makes you more accountable for sticking to your regimen, because you look forward to seeing others, and catching up with them. For beginners, group fitness can be a way to stay motivated, past the point where attending a class has become a habit. For avid class attendees, being in a group setting with people at all levels of their fitness journey reminds you of when you were a beginner and makes you more likely to continue when motivation does wane; and it will, for all of us.”

BUILD YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK

As adults, it can be tough(and time-consuming)to make new friends. So whether you have moved to a new city or want to meet other like-minded fitness aficionados like you, classes and run clubs are an easy way to do that. Run clubs specifically offer plenty of opportunities to be social even after the run. By joining a run club, you can further extend connections even beyond regular runs. “You can exchange running strategies and training tips. Plus it’s also a great way to find regular running partners,” says Mazzuca Prebeg. In our often social, yet sometimes the isolated world, having a fitness connection with someone makes that healthy habit even better for you.

POSITIVE VIBES, POSITIVE MIND

Who couldn’t use a little positive energy? Exactly. Believe it or not, the atmosphere in a class can actually give you the extra boost you need when your own energy wanes. A study in the journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that participation in regular group fitness classes decreased stress while increasing physical, mental, and emotional levels even as compared to others who regularly exercised on their own. So as it turns out your regular body-combat class could be what you need to improve your well-being for life. “The social environment can make it more enjoyable and will help push you harder when you wouldn’t have on your own,” says Mazzuca Prebeg.

CHANGE IT UP

You can run the same five-kilometer route every morning for weeks, but eventually, you’re going to notice that doesn’t have the same benefits it once did. Having a running club to attend every week will give you the change you need to challenge your body and mind with a new route and even new terrain.

In a group fitness class, you’ll get the change you need by taking classes with different instructors. Even with yoga, most studios offer different types of classes (from aerial to acrobatic to hot), all of which challenge your body in new ways. At GoodLife Fit-ness, which offers Les Mills Fitness Programs such as body pump, Body combat, and Body flow, a completely new class with new music is scheduled every12 week, making change happen for you that much more quickly.

FYI:

It takes 21 days to create a habit, so let’s face it, you’ll need the kick in the pants of others at least once.

FOCUS ON FORM

Whether it’s cardio kickboxing, body combat, or yoga, in a group fitness class you have few added individuals who are there to help you help yourself. First, the instructor is your guide and basically the one and only person in the room who you should be following to ensure you have the moves and your form correct. In some classes, you’ll have multiple instructors at the front of the room offering modifications that will help beginners and more advanced individuals train at their level. In this way, you’re getting the best of both worlds, the energy of being in a group setting and a workout that is tailored for you. In addition, instructors will often demonstrate more complicated moves before having the group take part. This gives you the opportunity to really focus on their movements without having to be concerned about yours...

By : ANNA LEE BOSCHETTO

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