“There is something very special when a group of residents works out together,” says Coterie Resident Engagement Director Amanda Clears. “The shared experience brings out their best – and motivates everyone to keep going.”
Research mirrors Amanda’s observation, confirming that exercising in groups provides physical, emotional, and social benefits for older adults, while encouraging participants to stick with the program.
The science behind group exercise classes for seniors
Let’s start with some encouraging stats related to senior fitness classes: A UK study of people aged 65 and over reveals clear advantages for working out in a group.
Researchers split the participants into two groups. The first group attended organized group exercise sessions for a year, while the second group had no organized exercise. Among other benefits, the researchers found that the group exercisers showed a long-term improvement in walking speed, balance, and leg strength compared to the other group.
Besides improving mobility, researchers designed the group classes to be fun and social. The people in the exercise group attended most of the sessions, suggesting that they liked the group setting.
Another study compared working out in a group versus exercising alone. Group exercise appears to reduce stress and lead to improvements in quality of life. Coterie’s resident Engagement team strongly encourages residents to attend group fitness classes. “Besides getting the benefits of exercise, it helps residents become more confident and gives them a shared sense of accomplishment,” Amanda Clears says.
6 ways Coterie’s group exercise program builds bodies, minds, and community
- Better strength and vitality
Group exercise classes are designed to provide steady, targeted improvements. Over time, participants make strides and can become increasingly fit in ways that are healthy, productive – and safe.
“Residents come to Coterie with a wide range of abilities,” Amanda Clears says. “We meet them where they are and help them build core strength, flexibility, and balance.”
Group workout attendees enjoy a variety of disciplines, including:
- Tai chi
- Low-impact Pilates
- Hatha yoga
- Aqua aerobics
- Lower body strength training
- Improved mental health and social support
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) reported on the prevalence of loneliness and isolation. A study found that one in three adults aged 45 and older experiences loneliness, while almost a quarter of people aged 65 and older are categorized as “socially isolated.” The social aspects of group exercise can reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. Exercise in general, and group exercise, can help.
- Exercise sets in motion a release of endorphins – but so can social interaction
- Research indicates that smiling and laughing – common in a convivial group setting – may produce more dopamine
- Built-in motivation and accountability
Group workouts create a spirit of camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment as participants share their fitness success stories.
- For one thing, participants are more accountable. If they skip a session, the group will notice and urge them not to miss.
- There is also mutual encouragement: Added motivation to push a little harder when other people are doing the exercises along with you. In a sense, the people you work out with become a personal cheerleading team.
- Seniors who exercise in a group are more likely to be motivated to take better care of themselves in general, increasing quality of life as they age.
- They are also less likely to cancel classes or drop out of an exercise program than if they work out on their own. This helps overcome the tendency to not show up if they are feeling stressed or tired.
- Personalized programs for every resident
Coterie partners with Elevation Health to conduct a personal evaluation for each resident – and develop a custom-tailored workout program to help them achieve their wellness goals.
- Coterie classes are led by trained instructors and local fitness experts
- Classes are tailored for older people, and multiple group classes are scheduled daily
- Trainers and instructors guide participants to ensure they are performing exercises correctly to prevent exercise-induced injuries
- More fun and enjoyment
In addition to focusing on the importance of fitness for older adults, Coterie believes residents enjoy working out more when they exercise together in inspiring locations. Workout amenities include beautiful pools, welcoming yoga studios, and smartly equipped fitness centers.
“The Mayo Clinic helped us design the fitness center,” Amanda Clears explains. “It was carefully put together around the needs of residents. On top of enjoying working out together, we believe the environment enhances their experience.”
Group fitness – the Coterie way
Despite the many well-documented benefits of regular exercise, many people – especially older adults – struggle to start and successfully maintain a consistent fitness program.
Knowing the importance of social connections for seniors, Coterie’s thoughtfully crafted group classes are led by professional instructors in inviting, inspiring workout environments. Coterie’s instructors and trainers keep residents engaged and entertained. The workouts feel less like a chore and more like a fun, social activity. This winning combination encourages Coterie residents to live healthier, happier, more productive lives.