Today’s guest post is by my friend Sue Loncaric, the blogger behind Sizzling Towards Sixty. Her blog touches on a number of topics related to wellness in midlife women. Sue is such a positive person! She is an encourager and great example of not letting age stop her from being her best. Check out her #couchpotatotofabfit community on Facebook where she encourages and inspires midlife women on their fitness journey. Sue is a big proponent of working out in community. Her post today is: 5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Workout In A Group.
5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Workout in a Group
Keeping fit and healthy as we age can become a bit of a chore. ‘It’s too hot, it’s too cold, I don’t have time’ – Have you used any of these excuses? I’m sure we have all used one or two to excuse ourselves from exercising regularly – even though we know it is good for us.
Motivation is a huge factor in maintaining a regular exercise program and I’ve found the best way to get started or back on track is to workout in a group.
Each Saturday I run with a group of ladies. We call ourselves the Saturday Sisters and we have been running together for about 5 years. We usually plan a few fun runs during the year and work towards training for those.
Working out in a group will keep you fit, healthy and enjoying life. Here are my 5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Workout In A Group.
Workout In A Group Reason #1 – Motivation
As I mentioned above, this is the single most important factor in starting or re-starting your exercise program. It can be so easy to put off until tomorrow. However, if you are part of a group OR you have an exercise ‘buddy’ you are more inclined to exercise because you have made a commitment to someone else.
Workout In A Group Reason #2 – Friendship
Regularly attending a group session can lead to new friendships. I know that I’ve made some wonderful friends through exercise – especially my Saturday Sisters. I met these lovely ladies through my daughter and we have formed a very special bond. We not only run together but we are there for each other. We have laughed, cried and vented during our 1 hour run each week.
Workout In A Group Reason #3 – Mental Health
Feeling part of a group can be good for your mental health. You have the opportunity to socialize with others and have fun. Exercising is great to relieve stress and certainly lifts your mood. What better way to do this than being part of a group?
Workout In A Group Reason #4 – Support
Don’t feel like going? Not in the mood? Struggling to keep up? Being part of a group or community will provide support to keep you going when the going gets tough. Exercising with others enables you to encourage each other to achieve your fitness goals.
Workout In A Group Reason #5 – It Is FUN!
Being part of a team, group or community can be fun. If like me, you enjoy running, you can all train for fun runs together. Why not train for a 5 km walk? If you are in a walking group you can arrange to go to different places for a walk and then a social event.
There are so many groups that you can join and some are for free. If you don’t want to join a group, grab some friends and go for a walk before you have your catch up coffee.
The secret to keeping fit is to find something you enjoy doing rather than something you have to do.
I am not working out in a group now, although I have for YEARS and I really miss it! Here are 3 groups I have worked out with in the last 5 years and my thoughts on each:
This is a HUGE running club in my area that caters to walkers and runners of all levels. I did their beginner program – the Couch to 5K program. Every Saturday, we met with our beginner group and did a walk/run together. We had mentors walk/run with us who spaced themselves out in the group so that everyone had a coach/mentor/encourager with them, so matter how fast they were. As you might imagine, we started out with more walking than running and over the 10 weeks slowly progressed to more running that walking. At the end of the 10 weeks, we all participated in a 5K. Don’t think you can run a 5K? No worries! Many of us do a combination of walk/run. I met some great ladies through this group and NEVER felt like I was too old or too slow. It was all about doing your best and progressing on your fitness journey together. If you are in the States, you can find a running club in your area here.
Have you ever seen the Crossfit Games on TV? Well, that is NOT what your everyday Crossfit Workout is like. Crossfit builds strength and endurance over the long haul by focusing on the movements you need to get through life – lifting, squatting, pushing, pulling. You get a combination of weight training and cardio in every workout. It looks hard. It is challenging. But every workout is scalable meaning that you only do the amount of weight and reps you can do for your age, fitness level and ability. All movements can be modified. The best thing about Crossfit is the wonderful community of all ages working out together, encouraging each other and cheering each other on.
That being said, not all Crossfit Boxes (what they call their gyms) are created equal. If you are considering Crossfit, visit several boxes in your area. Talk AT LENGTH to the owners and coaches. It is important that they have some kind of on-ramp course where you are trained in the correct technique of all the movement before you start with a class. Observe a class. Are the modifying movements for the various levels? Are the coaches working with people individually to make sure they have the correct form? Do the coaches have any other training or experience besides the Crossfit Level 1 Training?
I consider by Box, Crossfit Silverback the Gold Standard of Crossfit Boxes. All of our coaches have several certifications and are continually learning. Safety is of the utmost importance, so you won’t see anyone lifting weights that are too heavy for them or pushing themselves beyond what they are capable of. Before you start with a class, you take 5 sessions of personal training so that you have the foundation you need. And the community is so fun.
I started Crossfit at age 52 with pretty much NO fitness background. You can read about my experience in 5 Lessons Learned As A 50+ Crossfit Competitor.
And a little about why my Crossfit Box is so fun: Fireball Balls | A No-Bake Cookie With Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.
Find a Crossfit Box in your area here.
Orange Theory Fitness is a chain with locations all across the United States. Each one-hour workout has a circuit that alternates between cardio and strength training. Participants wear a heart rate monitor that tracks how hard you are working out. Exercises alternate between a treadmill, rowing machine and the strength floor where you do a combination of exercises with bands, hand weights and your body weight. All the exercises can be modified according to your ability and fitness level. The sessions are lead by trained and enthusiastic coaches. It is a highly energizing atmosphere and lots of fun. Find an Orange Theory Fitness location near you.
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