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Working out together

Group fitness reaps benefits on all levels, studies show

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March 22nd, 2018
Even when there’s snow on the ground, people who live at Linden Ponds can enjoy a low-impact workout in the community’s heated indoor pool or group fitness class.

The benefits of group exercise are understood by the staff and residents at Linden Ponds.

Have you ever noticed that euphoric feeling you get when you take a brisk hike with your walking group? Or how making a post-yoga coffee date increases your motivation to attend class each week?

There’s something about exercising with other people that makes it a little easier to commit and a lot more fun. And it’s not just in our heads—studies show attending group fitness classes yields positive effects for body, mind, and spirit.

Proof is in the research

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that motivation increased and people worked out longer in the presence of others.

Group exercise doesn’t only deliver physical benefits. A 2017 study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that participants who were enrolled in a group fitness program demonstrated decreased stress and increased emotional and physical quality of life.

“The possibility that the social aspects of group exercise improved [quality of life] and decreased stress also cannot be discounted,” the authors of the 2017 study wrote. “The social component of group exercise is therapeutic. Furthermore, group exercise classes often use up-tempo music and choreography to make the class more fun and engaging.”

The benefits of group exercise are clearly understood by the staff at Linden Ponds’ on-site fitness center, where community members can choose from among 12 different group classes.

Classes range from Power H20, in which participants get both aerobic and upper-body workouts while in the heated indoor pool, to Yoga Nidra, a particularly relaxing form of yoga that delivers the benefits of two hours of sleep, to Men’s Basic Training, a full-body strength and endurance workout designed for men.

In action at Linden Ponds

Linden Ponds Fitness Manager Mary Whidden says there are numerous benefits of participating in group exercise classes.

Whidden says those benefits go beyond the physical gains of increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, which are all integral to staying fit as we get older. Regular workouts can also reduce the impact of illness and chronic disease.

“People who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning; better blood pressure and bone density; and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, depression, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers,” Whidden says. “Also, seniors connect to each other—so social fitness improves when they are in a group setting, which increases a sense of connection to each other.”

Linden Ponds’ fitness center is staffed by experienced trainers who can provide guidance to people who are new to exercising as well as those who are looking to take their workouts to the next level.

“We have three levels of classes, so all residents will find the right class for their needs,” Whidden says. “We incorporate brain fitness activities into all our fitness classes.”

Location, location, location

Physically getting to the gym is usually half the battle. But for the people who live at Linden Ponds, that battle is a little easier because the fitness center is located just a short indoor walk from their own front doors.

Suzanne Monk belonged to a gym for many years before she moved to Linden Ponds. But she says fitting in her workouts is much easier now.

“I don’t have to drive, and I don’t have to get dressed and go someplace,” she says.

Suzanne attends aerobics classes three days a week and water workout classes another two days each week. She says she particularly enjoys working out alongside her neighbors rather than on her own.

“Since I’ve come here, I just enjoy the fact that I can do these classes. The water aerobics is a nice change of pace, especially in the winter when it’s snowing outside,” Suzanne says. “Being at Linden Ponds, we don’t have to worry about cold weather in winter because we don’t have to go anywhere.”

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