How Group Exercise Changed My Approach to Fitness: From Chore to Fun
By, Laura Holden
I’ve often heard people say they don’t enjoy exercise, or view it as a chore. I think everyone can enjoy exercise – we just have to find the type of exercise we each enjoy. Some people enjoy running, others enjoy weight lifting, while others enjoy group exercise classes. I find myself in the last group and I’ve often shared with members that I find it challenging to exercise by myself, in a non-group setting. I never imagined I’d enjoy group exercise classes, let alone teach them!
I started taking group exercises in 2006. I was a self-conscious teen with little interest in sports and exercise, and to this day cannot catch, hit, kick, or throw a ball of any kind. Those first few classes were confusing and unnatural – I felt completely out of place in a mirrored room surrounded by 40-something year olds – each of which knew what they were doing. After regularly attending the same classes I began to enjoy them, looking forward to the next class. I enjoyed the physical benefits, but there was an additional component – I enjoyed the group setting, energizing music and motivating instructors. I was having fun, exercising for hours a week never once watching the clock.
After earning my BS, I started applying to graduate school. I would be moving away from the gym and group exercise classes I had come to enjoy so much. This was almost as devastating as moving away from my family, and I worried what my solution would be. I tried to follow online exercise regimens by myself, but it wasn’t the same. I wasn’t motivated to exercise and it became a chore. As a graduate student my schedule became busier, I was away from the exercise community I had known for so long and gradually slipped out of my routine until I had stopped exercising completely. The lack of exercise combined with graduate school stress lead to weight gain and more stress on top of stress. I missed my Group Power, Fight, Blast, and cycling classes. After an interview I began teaching Group Fight – more than a year after my last Group Fight class. Joining a new gym community can be scary, especially when you’re out of shape and are trying to improve your health. Those first few classes were terrifying as I struggled with learning new names, teaching, and even exercising! I have been so fortunate for the opportunity to teach, take classes, and find a new gym community.
No matter what type of class, becoming a regular group exercise participant can not only improve our physical health, but our mental well-being as well, relieving stress, improving self-confidence and meeting new people. Group exercise classes make exercise fun – we’re not watching the clock or counting how many reps are left until the workout is over. Timberhill members and employees have been so welcoming and I am thankful for the connections that I have and will continue to make.
For myself, exercise has become fun again, regardless of whether I’m teaching or taking a class. I’m sleeping better and generally feel like a happier, healthier person. If you’re a new member or have never tried a group exercise class I would strongly encourage you to come and try one – it’s included in your membership so there’s nothing to lose! When we’re able to enjoy exercise we lead happier and healthier lives where going to the gym is no longer a chore and can sometimes be the best part of our day!
Laura Holden teaches Group Fight Monday/Wednesday at 5:30 PM, Group Power Tuesday 5:30 PM and once a month on Saturday at 8:00 AM, and Cycle once a month on Saturday at 7:05 AM.