By McCartney Walsh
Group X classes offered at Youngstown State University provide a space for students to learn about the significance of exercise and how it impacts overall well-being.
When people think of exercise, they often think only of it as bettering their physical well-being, senior biology major and Group X instructor Brooke Crissman said. In reality, she said, they intertwine to positively impact a person mentally, socially and academically.
These factors are applied and built upon during exercise, such as in Crissman’s yoga class, and she said a lack in one could lead to disadvantages in another.
“Yoga is about physical benefits and difficult poses, but it is not yoga if you don’t give attention to the mental aspects of the body as well,” Crissman said. “You cannot have a healthy body without having a healthy mind, and yoga can be a tool used to strive for both.”
The variety of Group X classes offered also implement this tactic. Interworking the mind and body during a workout gives students a chance to let go of stress or worry they accumulated throughout the week.
Dina Fabry, fitness and wellness coordinator, is an alumna of YSU with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, where she learned about the psychological factors that allow for stress relief to happen.
“When you exercise you experience endorphins. You get a little break from whatever you’re thinking about, whatever you’re stressing about,” Fabry said. “You get time where you can just turn your brain off, focus in on what the instructor is doing. Get sweat out, get stress out.”
According to a study done by Sal Sanders, the dean of graduate studies and Group X spinning instructor, and two other colleagues, exercise is a common stress relief tactic. In the study, 66.6% of the 596 participants said they implemented exercise solely to release stress.
Sanders said exercising through his Group X class has positively impacted his life.
“There is no way I can ride for 45 minutes with wonderful people while listening to excellent music and remain stressed. Because of these benefits, my world is better when I exercise,” Sanders said. “Spinning has become a big part of what I do to make my world better and for me to feel my best.”
When both the mind and body are working together, they begin to impact other aspects of life as well. Sanders commented that being surrounded by other people and feeding off of their positive energy improves the social aspect of well-being, which is equally as important, but commonly overlooked.
“You can feel the energy in the room,” Sanders said. “Even when I might not feel quite like working out — once the class starts, the energy of the group is so positive. I notice mental changes by my tendency to smile and laugh more after a workout.”
When those factors begin to develop a good sense of self, Fabry explained, it affects reactions to the outside world.
“If you’re stressed and going through something, there is the potential for you to not be completely invested in whatever you may be doing,” Fabry said. “Whether it be in your academics or listening to a lecture or in a conversation with someone, you might not be as fully invested because your mind is elsewhere.”
Everyone deserves to improve their overall well-being, which is why Fabry encourages anyone and everyone to join in on the fun.
“All fitness levels are welcome, all of our instructors are trained to provide modifications to make sure you’re comfortable in your workout,” Fabry said.
Information and registration for Group X can be found on the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center website. The class calendar is listed below and an updated schedule will be posted to the rec center website March 4.