Fitness and fun: attend Temple workout groups

A student urges her peers to join free fitness classes on campus for a healthy social exercise experience.


Since high school, I’ve always enjoyed staying active, but only alone in my room, where no one else could see me. My anxiety kept me in a box, convincing me I’d face judgment for exercising in a group environment.

Alone, I didn’t have to overthink how my movements might look to others or feel pressured to have perfect form. There was no one else in the room to compare myself to, relieving me of any insecurity.

However, during my sophomore year, a close friend convinced me to try something totally out of my comfort zone: attend a group fitness class. She begged me to come with her to a Taylor Swift-themed group spin class at the Independence Blue Cross Student Rec Center, and because we’re both fans of her music, I decided to give in and go. 

I felt nervous about how difficult the class might be because it was my first time trying spin and I was entering a new social environment. The instructor’s encouragement to simply try our best — “If you’re moving your feet, you’re doing it right” — soothed my worries.

I quickly realized the classes helped me keep my body healthy, manage stress and introduced me to new friends, so I started attending cycling classes regularly. 

If someone like me, who was terrified of group fitness classes, now looks forward to them every week, all Temple students should try attending classes to benefit their physical and mental health and meet new people.

Temple’s schedule for group fitness classes, which include yoga, pilates, cycling, strength training and Zumba, is updated each semester. All classes at IBC are free for students and faculty to attend.

“If you can get into the building, you can get into all of our group fitness classes for free, which is not the same for other universities,” said Mikayla Marti, Temple’s fitness coordinator.

Of course, exercise has physical benefits, like strengthening bones and muscles and reducing the risk of disease, but there are mental health benefits to exercise, too. 

During the semester, students often feel burnt out when juggling various responsibilities. This unmanaged stress can cause poor sleeping habits, depression and can reduce motivation to complete schoolwork, according to The Jed Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts. If students attend the classes, their group workouts could be an outlet for stress as  fitness releases endorphins in the body, according to Mayo Clinic.

Working out specifically in group settings can further benefit students’ mental health because it provides individuals with a sense of support, motivation and accountability, NBC News reported. 

“I feel like it’s easier to get your workout in,” said Alexandria Reyes, a senior public health major, who takes morning cycling classes. “It’s also more fun when someone else is leading you through it and you’re doing it in a group because you feel everyone else’s energy.”

The social environment of the group fitness classes allows students to meet new people with similar interests while also providing a more enjoyable way to exercise. Certified instructors also contribute to the group’s energy, as they can empower students to complete each class with high spirits.

Lindsay Wilcox, a junior music technology major, frequently attends cycling fitness classes on campus because she prefers the social workout experience and finds the instructors inspiring.

“When I do cardio, I’m in a feel-good mood,” Wilcox said. “I like the instructors, the girls I’ve had, because I don’t know if I could do what they’re doing. They’re very uplifting.”

Some students may worry fitness classes would be too advanced for them, but campus recreation has separate classes to align with each student’s experience level. 

Cycling classes, for example, are broken down into different categories, like “Cycle Dance,” “Cycle Tone” and “Cycle Basics,” so students can attend classes that fit their skill levels and interests.

“Cycling was one of the big ones where people kind of felt intimidated because there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into how to set up my bike and how to ride with correct form,” Marti said. “So we put a couple of the cycle basics to be that clue that this is a beginner-friendly space.”

Regardless of whether students are looking for light weekly activity or intense workouts, anyone can find the right group fitness class for them and can expect a welcoming, fun and accommodating environment. 

At first, attending group fitness classes seemed completely out of my comfort zone, but now they’re what I look forward to every week. Students should take advantage of campus recreation group fitness classes, as they are of no cost, benefit mental and physical health and provide a social outlet. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.