At this point, we should all be well aware of the vast benefits exercise has on our physical health. What makes exercise even better are the added benefits it has on your mental health. Research has shown that regular exercise can reduce and treat depression, as well as improve symptoms of anxiety.
However what you might not know are the added benefits that group fitness classes have on your mental health, compared to just exercising alone.
“Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress & Quality of Life”
A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found this interesting result. People who partake in group fitness classes report less stress, along with better physical, mental, and emotional quality of life when compared to those individuals who exercise alone or do not workout at all. The study was completed on a group of medical students–who are indeed in a stressful environment; however, it is likely that the results would transcend for the general population as well.
“Engaging in social fitness activities could be a solution to improving the well-being of [people].”
Sixty-nine medical students from the University of New England College of Osteopathic medicine participated in the study. One group participated together in a 30-min core training class each week (CXWORX); another group exercised alone each week (health-enhancement group); and the final group did not engage in any regular physical activity at all. During the 12-week period participants completed a stress scale survey monthly, along with surveys assessing their physical, mental, and emotional well-being at the beginning and end of the study.
As predicted, the health-enhancement group did show significant improvements on mental well-being; however, the group fitness class experienced the best results (most improvements). The researchers found that compared to baseline, the fitness class group taking the CXWORX classes showed decreased stress levels, as well as increased physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The benefits of fitness classes go far beyond just exercising. The researchers noted that along with a strong sense of community, the music and choreography used in these group classes may contribute to one’s overall boosted mood.
So, why not hit up a local group fitness class to sweat it out AND boost your mood? They are super easy to fit into your busy schedules. Many studios even give you your first class for free…
Check out these awesome community-based fitness studios in Calgary and give it a try: