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For active adults, group fitness classes provide fitness motivation and a friendly atmosphere

by | Sep 23, 2019

Do you want to dramatically increase your chances of sticking to fitness, enjoying it, and reaching your goals?

Then you might want to consider exercising with a group, trainer, friend or spouse.

Some people like to go it alone – and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re one of them.

But if you’d rather add a social element to your routines, then you’re like millions of Americans at any age and any fitness level. Studies show that social interaction is key to building healthy new habits of any kind, including exercise.

In fact, active adults over 50 attend group exercise classes more than any other demographic except millennials.

There are some good reasons for that, including:

  • Social aspect and team atmosphere. Many people simply find it more fun to be with people. And enjoying exercise is an important driver of success for everyone.
  • Attention from trainer or class leader. Groups are a great way to receive coaching without going to the expense of hiring a trainer just for you.
  • Affordability. Fitness studios and gyms typically offer attractive pricing for group classes or training sessions.
  • Efficient use of time. You don’t have to worry about whether you’re making the most of your schedule when you’re led through a workout.
  • Accountability and motivation. People in group training naturally check up on each other – and encourage each other to keep coming back.

At some gyms and studios, small group training is provided in classes, in a room separate from what you might consider a typical gym.

In others, it might be provided in calisthenics-focused “boot camp” style.

And sometimes it’s in small group personal training, which can include some courses and instructors certified by the Functional Aging Institute. These sessions guide three to six people through a variety of exercises using things like balance balls, resistance bands, weightlifting machines and dumbbells.  They’re geared to helping you build strength, power and flexibility, manage weight and move freely.

Also, don’t forget yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, low-impact aerobics, tennis lessons and running clubs. Fitness comes in many styles!

Success stories

Valerie, 62, was bored with her fitness routine and decided to try small group sessions.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of the small group sessions and the enthusiasm of the trainer – which keeps me motivated to attend regularly,” she said about Proactive Fitness in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

“Gardening tasks like raking were easier,” Valerie said. “I noticed my legs were stronger and I had more stamina when hiking.”

Sharon was in her 60s when she joined Tash Fitness in Chicago. Everyday tasks had gradually become too challenging, and she knew she had to make a change. She shopped around and decided on small group training after receiving a recommendation.

“Everybody’s very friendly,” she says, which is important. “They applaud you when you do well. It’s very supportive.”

The BuddySystem works, too

You don’t have to join a group class (or even a studio or gym) to get the benefits of the Buddy System. Some people like to take a friend and start a fitness journey together, even if it’s just walks around the neighborhood.

Others make new friends with fellow gym-goers, or hire one-on-one trainers to get that steady interaction.

And family members find that working out together strengthens their relationship.

Geoff Coe, 62, started with his son some 13 years ago when the boy expressed an interest at age 10.

Now Geoff and his wife Darby, 47, enjoy lifting weights together at Urban Body Fitness in Atlanta.

“You do it often enough and it becomes self-motivating. You know that if you’re tired going in, you will feel a lot better when you are done and walking out,” Geoff says.

 “You’ve got to start somewhere, and everybody in here started at Day 1,” he adds, recommending that fitness newcomers get a trainer to learn the ropes and feel oriented.

  • Come see us, or call or check online, to learn more about group sessions, training and introductory sessions and tours!