Group Exercise for Emotional & Social Wellness

By Susan Donovan
Director of Group and Virtual Exercise
JCC of Greater New Haven

A powerful stimulus for enhancing emotional wellness, working out with others can contribute enormously to your health. Regular exercise itself will elevate levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which help to increase feelings of pleasure while also reducing sensations of physical discomfort, but adding that experience in a group setting can also enhance the increasingly important social aspect.

A workout class can become a positive social group. Camaraderie and connection to others, the feeling of being part of a team. After the isolation we’ve experienced during the course of the recent pandemic, we know that this social element is just as important for mental health.

Group exercise participants often become extended members of your family. Seeing each other week after week creates a real sense of community. Sharing recommendations for professional services, referrals, etc. can also make life a little easier.

A challenging group workout can be much more manageable when you are there with other like-minded individuals. There’s an undeniable energy shared by all those exercising with similar goals and purposes.

The welcoming social environment can change a person’s emotional state almost immediately. The routine of going to a class and seeing familiar faces can have a profound positive impact on a person’s day.

Lastly, expert guidance on exercising correctly that you receive from a fitness professional with encouraging words and motivation from others sharing the experience can make all the difference in not only achieving results but enjoying the journey.

Whether you like to dance, practice yoga or tai chi, spin or strength train, the JCC Fitness Center offers a variety of both on-site and virtual workout classes with certified, experienced instructors ready to help!

For more information on how our wellness professionals can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, contact Susan Donovan at susand@jccnh or visit

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