3 Ways Group Fitness Classes Can Improve Your Mental Health

women working out in a fitness group
Enjoy working out in a fitness group that can motivate you

Group Fitness Classes Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

Staying healthy is one of the most important things in life. Everyone wants to feel good, both physically and mentally, so many people embark on a fitness journey. Many people don't know that they're better off achieving their goals alongside other people than on their own. Group exercise and mental health go well together, as other people can help you achieve your physical goals and positively impact your mental well-being, too. You’ll find several benefits of group fitness classes once you sign up for one.

1. Progress Toward Goals

Goals are essential to the human experience, as they keep people motivated and going through life. Still, around 80% of people give up on their New Year's Resolutions before achieving the goal. Goals are great if you can be sure you're motivated throughout – and one of the many benefits of group fitness classes is that you can be surrounded by other people who share the same goal.

If you're chasing a goal, getting exercise is just one of the many ways to celebrate what your body can do. The other way is to watch what you're putting into your body – maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet is just as important as exercise to becoming physically and mentally fit.  Still, once you start a routine, you may find it easier than ever to adhere to one.

Routines don't take too long to build, but they can be challenging for people who have never intentionally made a long-lasting, healthy routine. Fortunately, people thrive on routine and perform their best when they're good at something.

fitness routine for health
Fitness routine for a healthy lifestyle

Building a fitness routine that works for you can help you feel more confident in yourself and your appearance because you'll choose hard work every day. It takes a lot of willpower to establish a routine – especially an intense one like teaching yourself how to exercise correctly and effectively. In the end, sticking to your routine will pay off.

The people working out with you can help you stick to that routine and keep you accountable. If you're all in the same fitness class together, you'll likely have designated days to attend class. Working with others can help you feel more motivated to achieve your goals. You might just be able to keep up with your goals the whole year ‘round.

2. Less Stress

Most people consider themselves stressed. Stress can affect every part of your body, both physical and mental. You might feel some tension in your muscles or a lack of focus, but you can even start to feel irritable or lack interest in the things you once loved. It's disappointing to feel so stressed out, but luckily, there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the worst stressors in your life if you can't eliminate them at the source. Exercising, even if it just means going for a quick walk, is one of the most effective ways to release stress.

Exercising, in general, can rid you of stress, but group exercise and mental health are undeniably intertwined. Simply moving around can help you relieve stress and activate relaxation within your body and mind. You can choose as intense or as laid-back of a class as you like, and it can help you understand more about the kind of movement you want to do in the future.

Not all stress is bad, though. A healthy amount of stress can usually provide some benefits, like an activated immune response or better performance. You may find a healthy dose of stress in competing with others in your group. Having friendly competitions over who can make the most progress in a set time can help you recommit to your goal and strengthen your bonds with others while allowing you to get into shape.

3. Social Wellness

One of the best reasons to take a group fitness course is that you get the social interaction you need. After the COVID-19 pandemic, which required many people to stay at home and get less social interaction than ever before, some people need to re-learn how to be with people again. Socializing is good for you, so aim to take a class with other people to boost your social skills.

If you work or study from home, for the most part, taking a fitness class at your local gym is a great way to meet other people and build up your social skills again. It's a nice, fun way to get out of the house and talk to other people. You may even make friends with some of your classmates.

Woman helping a lady with the correct form while exercising.
Group fitness classes have a variety of benefits.

If you're new to exercising, having a buddy is always great. One of the main benefits of group fitness classes is that you'll always have someone who knows a little more than you, so you can rely on them when you need help with things, like learning how to warm up correctly so you can avoid any injuries. Having someone more knowledgeable than you around means you'll never stop growing.

Moving with others increases your pain tolerance, thanks to the release of endorphins. Basically, you should be able to endure more challenging exercises if you’re doing them with someone else. Group exercise and mental health work together to make you realize you can achieve more than what you thought you were capable of.

Group Exercise and Mental Health Work Together

While solo exercise can be fun, it doesn't carry many of the same benefits as group fitness classes. When you're in a class, you learn the correct way to do things. Then, when you go to the gym alone, you won't be risking your safety or getting a less-than-perfect workout. Always try your hardest and challenge your limits, but do so responsibly.

Group exercise and mental health go together just as group fitness does with physical health. In each class, you have a chance to grow and improve, and you'll learn more about yourself while challenging your body to do feats you never thought possible. Consistency is vital – the more you practice, the better results you'll see, both physical and mental.

Author: Beth Rush is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She is a well-respected writer in the personal wellness space and shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, fitness, holistic health, mental health, and disease prevention. In her spare time, Beth enjoys going for runs and trying out new fitness trends.

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