When we join a gym and attend regularly, over time we expect to see an improvement in our general health and fitness, but you might be surprised to learn that this isn’t the only thing to receive an overhaul - our social lives could be in for a shape up too! Here at 1Life our gyms and leisure centres pride themselves in creating a friendly, welcoming and supportive environment allowing you to get the most out of your gym visits. The physical benefits of exercise such as improved heart health, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of various serious diseases and improved muscle tone are all well documented, but some of the lesser known benefits include improved emotional and social wellbeing.
A lot of people see the gym as just a place to work on your fitness, but it’s also one of the best places to boost your social life too. With busy lives, more and more people are combining exercise with socialising. Whether it’s the friendly face of one of our PTs, catching up with a friend during a workout, or an opportunity to start up a conversation with other like minded gym-goers, the gym is a great place for regular social interaction. This interaction and sense of belonging can work wonders for your self-esteem, alongside the ‘feel good’ endorphins released while exercising – all helping you to nurture your mental health along the way.
A Sense of Belonging
Starting a new fitness programme for the first time can sometimes be a bit daunting but by joining a gym you’re automatically becoming part of a supportive network. Research shows that gym-goers who feel part of a community are much more likely to continue attending than if they were going it alone. This sense of belonging can really help to keep you on track with your fitness goals as well as keeping you motivated.
All forms of physical exercise are beneficial to our health but place yourself in a group setting, such as a gym or exercise class, and the benefits are multiplied. Whether you workout with an old friend at 1Life or someone you have just met, knowing that someone is counting on you to show up is a great motivator, especially when it’s all too easy to come up with excuses not to go. You know the ones – “I’m washing my hair”, “I’m catching up on EastEnders”, “I’ll go tomorrow instead” etc.
Working out in a group or with a gym partner can also be the encouragement you need to push yourself that bit further and raise the intensity of your workout compared to if you were to exercise alone – all of this is good news for your fitness levels and sense of achievement.
Most sociable 1Life Classes
The following classes are great for striking up a bond with other people at the gym. There is a class to suit everyone and every fitness level so why not give them a go and see the benefits for yourself?
Spinning – this indoor cycling class is a great way to get fit as a group. The high intensity cardio exercise targets the leg muscles while building overall stamina. The group setting might be just what you need to really push yourself.
Zumba – a great aerobic workout set to energetic music, in a fun, sociable and positive environment. Get a full body workout without it feeling like formal exercise at all.
Yoga – a class which focuses on stretches, flexibility and breathing in a relaxing environment. As well as being the perfect ‘time out’ from a busy lifestyle, it’s also a great opportunity to socialise with gym friends as the whole class enjoys a peaceful hour together.
Aqua – this fun-filled class based in the pool will help to burn fat and tone your body. You might even manage a chat with others in the class as you exercise.
Circuits – this fast paced, high intensity, interval based training class will really put you through your paces. Sign up with a gym friend to motivate and challenge each other, you’ll be surprised how far you can push yourself once the challenge is set!
Have more fun!
Laugh together, sweat together and work hard together - whichever form of exercise you choose, make sure it’s fun! Remember, you’re aiming for about 3 exercise sessions of moderate intensity each week to really see and feel the benefit. You’re much more likely to stick to this if you’re having fun along the way and can combine it with an opportunity to socialise.