Combat Stress With These Group Fitness Classes

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Apr. 19 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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The benefits of exercise are common knowledge among most. Regular physical activity helps control weight, combat health conditions and diseases, improve our mood levels, and much more. Still, these lifelong benefits don’t motivate everybody the same way. 

According to a study from the American Psychological Association, only 17 percent of adults reported exercising daily. Many factors stand between adults and regular exercise, but one of the biggest that I’ve found as an ACE personal trainer and group exercise instructor is disliking exercise. 

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Source: Pexels

A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of fitness app creator Freeletics backed this up. Major reasons people provided for not exercising more frequently included “not having time” and lacking motivation. Twenty-five percent reported disliking exercise, and many pressure themselves into running or weightlifting but can’t maintain the habit because they simply don’t like doing it.

Another recent study found that one method of increasing physical activity in adults is participation in group fitness classes. Luckily, group fitness is all the rage these days and can contribute to both physical and mental health benefits. Here are three group fitness classes to try.

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“Yoga helps reduce stress in the mind by giving tools to the student to create a calm space. This includes breathwork, meditation, and movement,” said Kylan Fischer, a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified yoga instructor.

Kylan also told Her Agenda that yoga reduces stress in the body by stretching and strengthening areas that tend to hold a lot of tension. And while yoga may not make your stress disappear, Kylan mentioned that it teaches you how to deal with the rocky parts of life a little better.

“People who practice yoga seem to handle stress better. I try to teach daily lessons that can be taken off the mat and applied throughout the rest of your day. Setting that intention in your yoga practice and remembering it throughout your day or week can make a huge difference,” Kylan advised.

Indoor Cycling

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Source: Pexels

Sara Holtzman, a certified Cyclebar instructor, has taught indoor cycling for 14 years and currently teaches at the popular franchise, Cyclebar. Indoor cycling is a high-intensity cardio exercise that is loved by many because it feels more like a party on a bike than a workout. So, if you don’t enjoy lifting weights or going on runs, consider an indoor cycling group fitness class.

“Riders often mention that the type of indoor cycling we do – in a dark room, with ambient lighting and surround sound music – allows them to mentally escape, giving them an opportunity to ‘check out’ for a while,” Holtzman shared.

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With loud music pumping through your veins, colorful lights, fun choreography, and a community alongside you, indoor cycling can quickly become your happy place. In fact, many riders have told Holtzman that indoor cycling is their happy place and that their week wouldn’t be the same without the classes on their calendar.

“I think this speaks volumes in terms of their perceived, and perhaps, unperceived stress level improvements,” she added.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), has proven to improve depression, anxiety, and stress scores upon activity completion. Today, there are many HIIT group fitness class modalities available including Orangetheory Fitness, where Melanie Silva, a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, coaches.

Silva has coached at the same facility for more than three years and has developed close relationships with the members at her studio during that time. More often than not, she said, their health wins are related to the mental and emotional benefits they are experiencing, rather than the physical.

“Tanya, a middle-aged married woman, tried our workouts after being referred by a friend,” Silva said. “About a year into her journey with us, her husband became ill and passed. I watched this strong woman continue to show up consistently, not because she was trying to lose weight, but rather to escape the weight of grief that she carried every day after.”

She added that Tanya was able to have one hour where she “didn’t think about it, but instead focused on herself and relieved the emotional stress she endured.”

“Her emotional pain was transferred to a temporary physical discomfort that got her through one of the most challenging chapters in her life. I also witnessed the fitness community support her with compassion and accountability.”

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Kelsey Kryger
By: Kelsey Kryger

Kelsey Kryger is a writer specializing in lifestyle, health, fitness, and business/entrepreneurship. Her work has been featured in Parade, UNATION, SimpliFaster, Beyondish, Planet Protein, and more.

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