Group Exercise

Health & Wellness

Tips for Living Healthy in South Arkansas

By Jason Rogers
Manager, JRMC Wellness Centers

Group exercise can be defined as: physical activity, led by an instructor, and performed by a group of individuals. Now, while it is certainly true that some individuals enjoy exercising by themselves in order to get away from other people, the benefits of exercising in a group are many and varied. We will discuss many of these benefits in this article and will then introduce the group exercise programs available at the JRMC Wellness Centers.

We can all remember back to a time when we were kids without a care in the world, playing with groups of friends, siblings, and schoolmates. Those carefree days are long past for most of us, replaced by work, family obligations, and stress. One of the most beneficial aspects of exercising with a group of individuals can be derived from the fact that the activity can provide an escape – at least for the duration of the class. Research proves that group exercise has an immediate, positive effect on calmness and stress reduction. Research also proves that regular group exercise aids participants in their ability to cope with stress in other areas of life.

Group exercise can provide structure for individuals who know that they should be getting physical activity, but do not know where to start. A goal of any good group exercise instructor is to provide instruction that will maximize effectiveness and safety of the activity. Additionally, an appropriately designed class will include a warm-up, a cool-down, and stretching; all activities that individuals working out on their own might skip. Structure may mean the difference between an individual continuing to exercise or giving up in frustration.

Consistency is another draw to group exercise. Class times are typically set and occur on a regular basis. For extended periods of time, you can count on that Tuesday evening class being available for you.

Attending a given class on a consistent basis is going to put you in proximity with a lot of the same people week in and week out. Given the right mindset, this provides you with the opportunity to make friends. Working out with friends can add motivation and encouragement to the activity. Working out with friends may also provide some accountability. Skipping an activity where you know that people are expecting you is a little more difficult than skipping an appointment with yourself.

In the past group exercise consisted of “aerobics”; a leotard and headband-wearing, chipper little lady bouncing around performing dance moves she made up, set to music she had chosen. Today the variety of group exercise classes is quite remarkable. You can find group exercise classes designed to help you build strength, tone up, increase your flexibility, get into better cardiovascular condition, and on and on. And, depending on what the program is and who is offering it, the classes are based on science and research, not an individual’s educated guess.

Over the next few weeks we are going to introduce to you the group exercise offerings available at the JRMC Wellness Centers. We will discuss each program we offer, who we license our programs through and why, and tell you a little about how our instructors are trained. It is our hope that we pique your interest in one or more of the classes and that you follow up questions or with your presence in a class. Don’t forget that we have free passes available for those who would like to try a class. Check at the Wellness Center desk, and stay tuned!

The JRMC Wellness Centers, located in Pine Bluff and White Hall, offer a variety of fitness options for all ages and interests. Free weights, machines, cardio equipment, personal trainers and a full schedule of Les Mills classes are available at both facilities. For more information call the Pine Bluff (541-7890) or White Hall (850-8000) facility.


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