Courtesy of Reena Vokoun
Several benefits can come from working out in groups, such as social connection, inspiration, leadership and impact, according to Los Altos Passion Fit owner Reena Vokoun, center.
When we're not feeling motivated to exercise, we often come up with a laundry list of reasons why we can't do it. Perhaps we're tired, hungry, have work to do or are sore from a previous workout.
There's hope, however. According to a 2011 research study in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, fitness habits are often influenced by others who are close to us. Our own perceptions of the type of social support we might be receiving also can be pivotal.
Following are five ways a wellness community can offer extra motivation to stay healthy.
• Connection. Communities often build connection, which can make us feel less alone, and as though others can relate to and support us and vice versa. Being able to connect with others who are like-minded, and perhaps experiencing the same challenges and opportunities that we are when it comes to our personal wellness, can provide added incentive, especially when we need it most.
• Accountability. We can feel a sense of accountability to one another to stay the course and show up for scheduled workouts, eat nutritious foods and practice an overall healthy lifestyle. When we’re part of a group, we’re more likely to understand the importance of keeping our promises and not letting others or ourselves down. The collective group can help hold everyone accountable and is often more powerful than if we were to go it alone.
• Inspiration. When we see others within a community achieving goals and overcoming challenges, we may feel inspired that the same can happen for us. Seeing others succeed can offer hope for our own future success. Inspiration provides us with an emotional connection to our health and well-being. That emotional connection is critical for taking action and staying committed, even when times get tough.
• Leadership. Wellness communities often have leaders who are trained to understand what others might need to stay healthy and can offer expert feedback and advice. There are usually general and specialized group fitness instructors, trainers, nutrition specialists and more, who can play a vital role in leading the community in a positive and effective way. The community is able to learn from such leaders and one another, which can provide a wonderful opportunity for continuous growth and development when it comes to our health, wellness and fitness.
• Impact. The goal of many communities is to grow, enabling more people to take part and benefit from them. Therefore, it could be a great opportunity to give back to the community as a whole by recruiting more members and helping others achieve their wellness goals. As the community grows, so does the strength of the collective group, knowledge, wisdom, encouragement, learning and overall opportunity to achieve something bigger than ourselves.
If you’re looking to join a new, supportive and fun wellness community, check out my Passion Fit community in Los Altos, where you can take my Train, Sculpt and Dance classes 9 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at Areté Dance Center, 979 Fremont Ave. You’ll also have access to my free newsletters, events and private Facebook group, which includes information, tips and inspiration focused on fitness, nutrition, mindfulness and work-life balance.
Reena Vokoun is owner of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit. For more information, visit passionfit.com.