Participating in a regular exercise program gleans a myriad of health benefits

Whether it is weight loss, lowering bad cholesterol levels, toning up muscles, strengthening bones, feeling better about yourself, reducing the risk of Type II diabetes and other chronic diseases, improved sleep, revving up your energy level, or simply wanting to improve overall fitness and wellbeing – working out is a proactive choice towards a better lifestyle.

Numerous fitness opportunities

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You are aware that the community gym offers a wide variety of equipment and free weights, fitness programs, almost every type of exercise class and the latest fads, as well as the services of personal trainers, instructors and coaches.

Your friends or co-workers continue to bug you about joining their morning running group, evening cycling club, the early morning boot camp at the local park, or the incredible Hot Yoga classes at the trendy new studio down the street.

Benefits of exercising in a group

Yes indeed – there are plenty of good reasons to work out with a friend or two or in a group.

– Motivation: the up-beat music, the super charged instructor, and maybe even a little competition help re-energize the participants and the workout

– Consistency: you rely on the regularity of the classes you attend since the schedule and the instructors rarely change

– Planning: all you need is your exercise clothing and some water because someone else provides the knowledge, choreography, and instruction

– Accountability: you made a commitment to be there, and someone else is counting on you too

– Boredom: there is always something new to try and time seems to pass by quickly

You are your own gym

Yet many prefer to go at it alone now and then – and there are some really great reasons someone might prefer this approach to exercise.

– No cost, no fees, no membership dues, no driving

– You have a complete set of weights, a Yoga mat, and a balance ball in your bedroom

– The convenience of your living room, den, or neighborhood

you are your own gym_2– Whenever you take a vacation, you take all your exercise gear with you, even your bike

– As a matter of fact, you plan your holidays around your workouts and map out running and cycling routes

– You set your own exercise schedule and workout when you really feel like it

– Exercise is important – daily – because you love it

– You find peace in solitude and some much needed time for reflection

– Running is meditation – your breath, the sounds, and the connection with your body

– You plan your day and your to-do list or simply daydream about nothing

– No need to talk, which allows you that much needed peace of mind

– You are never late or waiting for someone else

– Efficiency – ready and out the door so it takes less time

– The pace, frequency, and intensity are yours and yours to decide

– You choose the music you want to hear whether it is hard rock, disco, or classical

you are your own gym_3– Today you don’t want to listen to music

– You don’t care what you wear or how you look

– No make-up and no shaving

– You wear your favorite running shorts three days in a row

– No competition and you focus on only your progress

– You are not counting on anyone else but yourself, and you are accountable

– There is no complaining, groaning, moaning, or whining unless it’s you

– If you aren’t feeling up to the challenge, you can skip that workout guilt-free

– Every now and then you dance while you run and celebrate how ‘it’ feels

As a personal trainer and group aerobics instructor, I have loved the interaction and the joy in seeing other people improve their fitness level.

As a runner, cyclist and triathlete, I have logged many miles alone and in groups; and even though the going is tough now and then, I prefer going it alone or with my dogs – they never complain!

Connect with Expert Leslie Olsen

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