The journey to reach your fitness goals doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavour.
Throughout the 90-Day Fitness Challenge with Steve Nash, I’ve learned that one of the most fundamental contributors to success is having a support system, especially when you’re just getting started.
Think about the places you go when you’re craving a sense of community or encouragement. If a fitness class isn’t on your list, it very well could (and should) be.
What I found during my recent class at Steve Nash was something solo training wasn’t able to offer: common humanity. It’s a term psychotherapists use to describe bonding through the shared experience of suffering.
Because when you’re shaking through another 45-seconds of the plank and look up to see someone else pushing through the exact same position, there is an automatic feeling of “we’re in this together.”
Group exercise has evolved from leg warmers, step aerobics, and tacky choreography. Today, classes pair that unspoken camaraderie with an effective workout; you get to feel like you are part of something substantial.
While a personal trainer can motivate you to do one more set, and a good song can encourage you to try a little harder, a group workout class offers an entirely new level of motivation.
But I wanted to dig a little deeper and figure out why I felt especially uplifted during and after the group workout. While researching the psychological benefits of community ties, “The Roseto Effect,” kept popping up. Essentially, it is based on a study that tracked a group of Italian immigrants who settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania. People who lived there were noticeably healthier and lived longer than their peers in surrounding villages, despite sharing relatively similar diets and minimal exercise routines.
It turn out that residents of Roseto lived in a tight-knit community where people would often meet up to participate in group activities.
This led researchers to conclude that the spirit of community is an essential element of the healthy, fulfilling life.
And it makes sense: we are social animals by nature. Unfortunately, we are also busy ones. While we crave the company of others, we don’t always have the time to seek it out. This is another reason why group exercise is key. It combines the opportunity to socialize and form strong bonds through common humanity, while simultaneously helping you reach your fitness goals.
When people sign up for the 90-Day Fitness Challenge at Steve Nash, they aren’t just looking to show up to the gym, sweat and leave. Many – myself included – also want exercise to meet some bigger needs in my life: a sense of community, accountability, and discipline.
In a one-hour group fitness class, those feelings are powerful, and entirely possible if you commit. The suffering feels worth it when you aren’t facing it alone.