These past few years of COVID-19 has taught us many things, one of them being that we enjoy gathering with others. This was harder to accomplish due to the shutdown of many facilities and the need for social distancing, but fitness communities did their best to keep that interaction through virtual online classes and running outdoor events. As a certified personal trainer and exercise medicine specialist at ProMedica ForeverFit, I’ve been reminded of the many benefits of community fitness. Here are just a few.
If you didn’t participate in any virtual classes, you may have experienced how hard it can be to find the motivation to get outside and go for a walk or to use the weight equipment in your house and if you were like me, you used every excuse not to exercise and tell yourself “I’ll start tomorrow.” There is something to be said about the power of working out in a community that motivates us.
The sense of community you find at a fitness center can provide you with the inspiration and support you need to not only push you to start working out, but also be there to celebrate your achievements as you progress through your fitness journey. Whether your goal is to be able to complete a 5K or increase your overall strength, you will find camaraderie with those in your fitness community that may have similar goals. These individuals will be there each week to encourage you to increase your running tempo or add more weight and before you know it, those fitness goals you once thought were unattainable are now within reach.
The best part is the friends you make at the club are right beside you giving you that high five and pat on the back when you cross the finish line of your first race or lifted more than you thought you were capable of. Accomplishing your goal can be an intimidating task, but it’s much easier to do it with a community supporting you every step of the way.
Sense of Belonging
Group exercise classes also promotes a sense of belonging where you become part of a club within a club. Taking the same classes each week with the same people promotes a feeling that “we’re all in this together.” When you’re on the last round of a boot camp class and your losing energy, the other class participants, who very quickly become your friends, are right there beside you performing each repetition with you, encouraging you to keep going.
Whether you take aqua-robics, Barre or even chair yoga, that friendship and support encourages you to come to class, even when you don’t feel like it. You know you will be missed if you don’t show up. My group exercise community is there for me when I need a little more encouragement and I promise to be there for them.
Being part of a fitness center community can be a lot of fun, too. It is not all hard work and exercise; there is a lot laughing and joking. When you spend that much time with the same people every week, it makes coming to class a lot of fun. As a matter of fact, one of my members just told me, “I’ve made really good friends at the club and I can’t wait to get there every day to see them.”
Nicole Breeden, ACSM, is a certified personal trainer and exercise medicine specialist at ProMedica ForeverFit.