By Frankie Wallace
Whether you are just starting to build a workout routine for the first time or if you’re an athlete who is looking to find a new community, studies have shown that building relationships with others who share your passion for exercise, activity, and fitness is important to its success. Finding that community is sometimes difficult, but there are many options available that can help you feel supported in your fitness routine. Finding a community, and finding the right community, are both key factors to a successful workout regimen. Just remember, be sure to check in with your doctor and make notes of any advice they give before starting a new regiment.
Decide What Kind of Group You Want
An important thing to keep in mind is that if you are looking for a group to join, you need to already know what type of workouts you enjoy. Are you a cardio fiend? Or do you prefer slower-paced activities like yoga? Do you like working out in a class? Or do you want moral support while focusing on your solo activities? All of these factors determine what kind of group you will ultimately look for when seeking support.
If you are looking for a group to exercise with in person, check out your local gym. If possible, pick one that has multiple options for instructors and a varied selection of classes. Many gyms offer cheap day passes or drop in rates for their classes, which can let you test the waters before committing to a membership. It’s also important to give every style of workout a chance, since not every trainer or workout will fit with everyone. You may find out that you love high-intensity interval training, just not with that one instructor who had the weird metaphors.
An alternative to in-person support is online groups. Whether it is through forums where you can find tips and trade workouts, or through the communities that major names like Nike and Athleta have begun to build to give their customer base even more resources, the internet can be an excellent source of community. This can also be an excellent resource to look into for those who may be considering investing in a wearable fitness tracker, since many apps can log information directly and let you know how your friends are doing in their goals. This is a great choice if you are looking for some friendly competitive support while taking a more solitary path.
Decide What Kind of Support You Want
Beyond making the most of your workout, knowing the type of workout that works best for you will let you determine the type of support you will get. If, for instance, you have to take into account a particular medical condition, such as varicose veins, you can search for groups of other people who also workout with varicose veins in mind. Alternatively, you may be more interested in the outdoors and want to find a group of people to help you learn how to prepare for outdoor hiking and camping trips. Either way, finding a supportive fitness group can help you move forward in your goals and develop a greater sense of connection and help keep you motivated, whether or they are in person or online.
Especially for those of us who live in climates that get especially cold or hot, seasonal fluctuations can make keeping a regular workout routine seem almost impossible. The support you look for may be something that you only need during your least favorite season, or you may enjoy helping other people get active during your favorite time of year. Finding a group who will help motivate you to work out in the winter may be the perfect balance to your summer zeal for beach jogs. Running meetup groups, winter swimmers, and many other sports have local or online groups to give advice and encouragement during challenging seasons.
Finding the right kind of support is just as important as the support itself, and it can be as simple as finding others who like to work out at the same time of day. This can take some trial and error, and can be frustrating at times. However, the reward of figuring out both your favorite physical activity and the type of community that you are looking for can help you take steps forward in creating an important support system. The value of surrounding yourself with others who are motivated the same way and towards similar goals goes far beyond just your workout.
Benefits of Having Support
Regardless of what your favorite workout is, how you keep track of your progress, or your personal feelings towards gyms, having a support network for your personal fitness journey increases your chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Having a network of people helps keep you motivated, and provides you with rewards that aren’t directly related to your fitness. By engaging with support groups, you can find friendships built on mutual interests, that would never have developed otherwise.
Lives are busier than ever before, and building relationships with people with mutual interests outside of work can be challenging. But those connections and that support are important for our success, both as people and as athletes. Whether you are a yoga mat athlete or a running-every-morning-at-5-a.m.-before-work athlete, building friendships, finding communities that can help support your goals and celebrate your successes with you can help motivate you.
Trading tricks and routines is one of the ways that shared groups help people become successful in their fitness routines. By trying someone else’s workouts, you have the opportunity to keep your exercises fresh and interesting, which is always a great trick to sticking to your workout goals. As everyone looks for ways to balance work, family, and health, finding community in activities like fitness is important, and not just so you can improve your mile time or bend yourself into a pretzel.
About the Author
Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer who currently resides in Boise, ID. Her favorite yoga pose is downward dog, but only when her cat, Casper decides to participate.