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Fit friends: how group fitness classes improve social health

Often when people are thinking about the pros of starting any new exercise routine, it's the physical and mental benefits that are at the forefront. And those are great! We want to engage in movement to feel stronger, move through our lives more easily, reduce our aches and pains and burn stress and anxiety at the same time.

And if all the Peloton commercials on TV and other ads popping up in your feed are any indication, the fitness trend at the moment is definitely skewing toward at-home fitness options in order to help you achieve the above-mentioned results. And we love a home workout option - heck, most of my business revolves around my online workout video membership, Fit From Home.

But I can understand that an at-home program isn't suitable or appealing for everybody, and group fitness options hold advantages that admittedly just aren't as easily replicated in your living room. And these advantages go even beyond the physical and mental health benefits of movement, as well. Which can be especially helpful to focus on if you are someone who KNOWS that exercise is important, but still has a hard time making it a part of your life.

One great example is the social aspect of group fitness classes. Almost anyone over the age of 25 will agree that making new friends as an adult can feel nearly impossible. For many of us, our core group of friends has split off across the country or even world, and the friends you do have close by have entered a new life stage and aren't as available as they used to be. Add in the "work from home" movement paired with the infrequency of gatherings over the last couple of years due to the pandemic and people are feeling more friendless than ever.

Enter group classes. These can be a fantastic way to get in front of a new group of people who, bonus, you already share an interest with - fitness! And kind of like online dating, meeting people for the sake of starting a friendship can feel forced and awkward. Being in a situation like a group fitness class is ideal because that's not the only reason you're there, so it takes the pressure off. Friendships are more naturally able to develop in this setting, as you bond with someone over an exercise you both found challenging, or discover that the person next to you performing the same postpartum alternative to a movement just had a baby as well.

Again, the physical and mental health benefits of movement are fantastic but maybe it's the social health benefits of a group fitness class that are going to keep you coming back, and finding a few new pals to hang out post-class with, to boot.

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