We’re all stoked for the New Year, but what do we do when we start to come down from the rush of Holidays and celebrations?! 

For many of us here in Central PA where things get relatively frigid, colder weather comes with decreased energy and a somber mood. Group exercise is one way to help beat back those blues, and in this post, we’ll review some of the ways it works. Read on to discover why it’s better to exercise together and get inspired to join us for a group fitness class at H2L.

Harnessing Human Contact
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that isolation is not easy on our brains. In the winter, we tend to spend more time indoors and away from friends and family. The dark and cold just aren’t as inviting. Like other animals, we tend to use this season as a time to slow down and turn inward. Unlike other animals, however, we’re uniquely social creatures.

winter workout studio Lose Loneliness
Not only does social interaction play a vital part in our mental health, it’s also foundational to our physical health. A 2012 study demonstrated a connection between loneliness and shorter lifespans. This included a higher likelihood of deaths from heart disease and other illnesses we don’t traditionally connect with our social lives. Just being around other humans can be enough to improve your mental health, even if you aren’t the chatty type.

Get  Accountable
It is hard to drag ourselves out of bed in winter. It’s often still dark out, and it’s much, much colder the moment your feet hit the floor than it was nestled up underneath your blankets. Exercise might be the last thing your stiff limbs are looking for during the colder months. Utilize the good kind of peer pressure to get out the door.

One benefit unique to group exercise is the accountability it creates between class attendees. You can come to one of our classes with a buddy, but you don’t have to. We’re confident you can make some while you’re here because we see it happen every day. Telling people your goals can help you to stick to them, and knowing someone is expecting you in class may help you to keep that commitment. You can help someone else meet their goals, too!

Model Motivators
In addition to getting you out the door and into the class, being around others while you work out can help you to push yourself to reach your goals by demonstrating the possibilities in real time. You might not be using the same weights as your neighbor or riding at the same resistance as your cycle buddy, but watching others rise to the challenge of a group fitness class can motivate you to keep going when you’re losing stamina and inspire you to work harder. No two people are ever alike, and no two classes are alike either. Some days, your body will need more or less from you. Being around others will help you to honor that with integrity.

Birds of a Feather
People have a tendency to do the same kind of things as the people around them. That makes it super important to surround yourself with people who are doing the kinds of things you want to be doing for yourself! If you want to lead a healthy lifestyle, it will be a heck of a lot easier if you spend time with others who are doing the same. Find some friends who share both goals and hobbies? Sounds like that spin class can roll right into a smoothie break or even a moderate happy hour.

The Inside Scoop
Now that we’ve reviewed the social reasons getting a group class can pump up your snowy season, let’s look at how it benefits your bod. Feeling confident when warmer weather comes around the corner is just an added bonus to the amazing health benefits of group exercise.

Vitamin D
We often associate this essential nutrient with sunshine. Exposure to sunlight prompts our bodies to produce it. Most Americans, however, are already Vitamin D deficient, so shorter days with prohibitive temperatures only compound the problem. Vitamin D plays an important role in our health from our immune system to our cardiovascular function and even the production of hormones like melatonin which regulate our body’s rhythms.

Studies show that there is a positive correlation between exercise and Vitamin D levels in the bloodstream. This means that maintaining a healthy workout routine can create the best environment for your body to make and use Vitamin D.

If you were old enough to watch movies at the turn of the century, then I probably don’t have to tell you this. Just in case you weren’t, I’ll review the immortal words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”

While it may not be an airtight legal defense, the science holds up. Endorphins are pain-relieving hormones released by your pituitary gland in response to stress or injury. Much like many of the synthetic pain killers we may encounter in our lives, endorphins have the additional effect of making us feel mentally uplifted as well.

One of the best ways to initiate this process is to get your body moving. While we will not be the ones to stop you from taking it to the chilly streets for a solo run, we do welcome you into the warm H2L environment for group exercise classes like barre, cycling, and Pilates.

improve sleep quality

Those who exercise regularly tend to have better quality sleep. This has a lot to do with our neurochemistry and some of the key ingredients like Vitamin D and endorphins mentioned above. In the winter, our sleep can become even more dysregulated due to the shorter days. We stay up for hours after the sun, often spending our time in front of lights and screens that confuse our systems about what time it is and what they should be doing. Jumpstarting your day with a high intensity group fitness class like Boot Camp or winding down with a stress relieving yoga session can help signal to your body when you need it to be active and alert and when you’re ready to rest and recover.

Come on in from the cold!

Ready to get started on your mood-boosting, body-benefitting winter workout regime? Come on into H2L for your free first class! We offer a wide variety of classes to suit every body and any workout style. Book now!