Staying active is important when you’re getting older (including if you have health conditions). Regular physical activity has a raft of positive benefits to your health and well-being, and it can also make it easier to perform daily tasks. “We know that in a broad sense, the more fit you are, the longer you live,” says Dr. Meagan Wasfy, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Exactly how you achieve that fitness doesn’t seem to matter—the main thing is making it happen.
So if you are stuck in an exercise rut or would like to start exercising again but don’t know what to do group classes might just be the option for you! There are many benefits to group classes for other than the physical “stuff”. Group classes, whether they be at a gym-type facility, or in a more casual setting like a park, encourage older people to get out of the house more. Group classes are also great because they are very social. You are able to build relationships with others in the class, and also work with other people. And it is likely that you will mix with people from different ages and backgrounds. You get the support and motivation from the instructor and the other participants in the class help you along the way too.
While the social component may be one of the most unique benefits of group exercise classes for older people, there is also an added physical benefit that comes with this type of exercise, as opposed to standard workouts. Studies have found that individuals of all ages and ability levels are much more likely to push themselves harder in their workouts when they are in a group setting and are exercising around others.
Working out with a personal trainer helps ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly which will reduce the risk of injury. Group classes also give structure to your workouts, with warm ups and cool downs included which also helps prevent injury.
Don’t think you can keep up with normal activities in group classes? An option could be that you talk to the instructor about different options for exercises which mean that you are still able to participate in the class, but go at your level. Another option would be to find an exercise class especially catered to older people (there are a lot of options when you start looking), or suggest your local gym create one!